UPDATE – VIDEO / GALLERY: Power play paces Rock past Storm

Timmins Rock goalie Dryden Riley gets his left pad down to stop a shot off the stick of Iroquois Falls Storm forward Charlie Crump during the second period of Game 2 of their best-of-seven NOJHL East Division semifinal series at the McIntyre Arena Sunday afternoon. Riley stopped all 32 shots he faced to earn his first NOJHL playoff shutout in his first post-season start. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS jpg, TD, apsmc

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

TIMMINS, Ont. – Dryden Riley stopped all 32 shots he faced to backstop the Timmins Rock to a 6-0 win over the Iroquois Falls Storm in Game 2 of their NOJHL East Division semifinal series at the McIntyre Arena Sunday afternoon.

Coupled with Friday night’s 5-1 Game 1 victory, the Rock will take a 2-0 lead with them as the best-of-seven series switches to the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls for Game 3, Tuesday night.

As in Game 1, the Rock’s NOJHL-leading power play was in fine form Sunday afternoon — producing three man-advantage markers, as well as a penalty shot goal.

While the Rock were a little sluggish to start Game 1 of the series, they were firing on all cylinders Sunday afternoon, building a 2-0 lead in the first period and never looking back.

Brant Romaniuk’s power-play marker, his second goal of the playoffs, 10:26 into the opening period got the Rock on the scoreboard with what would stand up to be the game-winning tally.

Harry Clark, who found the back of the net twice in Game 1, then added the first of his two goals on the afternoon and third of the playoffs.

Clark’s second goal of the afternoon and fourth of the season, a power-play maker increased the Rock lead to 3-0 six minutes into the middle frame.

Ryan Armitage was awarded a penalty shot five-and-a-half minutes later and he made no mistake, beating Storm goalie Connor Hatfield for his first goal of the playoffs.

Jack Kelly then added yet another power-play marker, his second goal of the playoffs, with two seconds remaining in the period, to make it a 5-0 hockey game.

Kaeden McArthur, who assisted on two of the earlier Rock goals, then closed out the scoring when he netted his first marker of the playoffs during the third period.

Riley, who recorded two shutouts during the regulation season, was all smiles after Sunday afternoon’s contest.

“I felt great out there today,” he said. “Our team really came together and really pulled through for me.”

Riley admitted he was feeling a little less pressure since his team provided him with a comfortable lead early in the game.

“Obviously, you always want to record a shutout every game, if you can, but a 6-0 lead really took the pressure off.”

Riley had to make a number of big saves early in the contest, but the closest he came to getting beat was in the second period when Storm forward Charlie Crump was in all alone on a breakaway, but he managed to get his left pad down in time to keep the puck out.

“It was off the rush and came out of nowhere,” he said. “I think that provided a big momentum shift for our team. They were coming at us strong in the second period.”

Riley appreciated the effort put forth by his teammates Sunday afternoon, not just the blue-liners playing front of him but the back-checking forwards, as well.

“We worked a lot of that Saturday, picking up guys coming back, so they executed it really well,” he said.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry liked what he saw from his squad Sunday afternoon.

“It was a real solid effort out of our group and Dryden Riley was fantastic back there,” he said. “We played good defensively and I thought there were a lot of really good moments, some bad moments, obviously, but we will watch the video and clean it up and move on to the next one.”

The coach agreed his team did a solid job of staying out of the penalty box Sunday afternoon.

“We did a good job of staying disciplined, 100 per cent,” Perry said.

“It is really hard to stay disciplined against a team like that.”

As good as the Rock have been on the power play early in the playoffs, they have been even better on the penalty kill — something that wasn’t necessarily the case during the regular season.

“It is a work in progress, like we talked about last week, but it has been good through two games,” Perry said.

“We have to keep hammering home some special points on it, but our power play has been fantastic all season and it was no different today.”

The Rock’s No. 1 line, with Clark, Mason Svarich and Romaniuk was once again dominant Sunday afternoon.

“Your best players have to be your best players at this time of year and they certainly have been through two games,” Perry said.

The secondary scoring provided by McArthur didn’t go unnoticed, either.

“He is a special talent, he really is,” Perry said. “There are not a lot of guys who can do what he does out there with the puck. That goal was incredible but he made a play two minutes before that at the blue-line that showed he is just a high-end player, super talented.”

While the coach was pleased with the effort put forth by his entire blue-line Sunday afternoon, he singled out captain Felix Cadieux-Fredette and Chase Longhurst-McIntyre for a little extra praise.

“Felix has been unbelievable for us all season and he was good again this afternoon and I thought Chase Longhurst-McIntyre was absolutely fantastic, as well,” Perry said.

“I liked all six of our guys back there.”

The only downside for the Rock Sunday afternoon is they lost another forward to injury. Jaden Lyons, who left Game 1 of the series with a lower-body injury, was on crutches Sunday and is officially listed as week-to-week, and Liam Wells left the Game 2 with an upper-body injury.

“Obviously, it is a big concern right now,” Perry said.

“He is a really good player and it was an ugly hit.”

In addition to recording his first shutout of the playoffs, Riley’s 32-save performance earned him his first playoff win, as well.

Hatfield, who turned aside 45 of the 51 shots the Rock directed at him, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Clark, Riley and McArthur … The Rock went 3-9 on the power play, while the Storm were 0-4 with the man advantage … Storm forward Krisjanis Fugalis was ejected from the game early in the third period after being assessed a five-minute major penalty for head contact and a game misconduct … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 880 … Sunday’s only other contest saw the Paper Kings knock off the Blind River Beavers 8-1 in West Division semifinal action … The Rock will take on the Storm in Game 3 of the best-of-seven East Division semifinal series at the Jus Jordan Arena on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.


“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel