By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
POWASSAN – A third-period collapse at the Sportsplex Friday night may have dashed the Timmins Rock’s hopes of finishing second in the NOJHL’s East Division standings.
Leading 2-0 following 40 minutes of play, the Rock appeared to be on the verge of upsetting the NOJHL-leading Voodoos on their home ice.
Powassan rallied for five unanswered third-period goals, however, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The loss for the Rock (33-15-3-0) combined with a 4-3 loss by the Crunch (36-14-4-1) to the visiting Kirkland Lake Gold Miner, leaves Timmins eight points behind Cochrane.
The Rock do still have four games in hand on the Crunch, but they will have to win all five of their remaining games and hope Cochrane is only able to pick up one point or less in its final regular-season game at home against the Voodoos on March 3.
Former Rock forward Ryan Theriault got the Voodoos on the board 1:38 into the third period when he scored his 14th goal of the season.
Ryan Bazzana tied things up at 2-2 two-and-a-half minutes later when he beat Rock goalie Albert Rogers for his seventh goal of the season.
Then defenceman Dayton Murray struck for what would prove to be the game-winning goal, his 16th of the season, 44 seconds later with the Voodoos on the power play.
Gary Mantz added a second power-play marker, his 32nd goal of the season, 47 seconds later and in the span of just under four minutes the Rock saw their two-goal lead turn into a two-goal deficit.
Dylan D’Agostino added his 18th goal of the season into an empty Timmins net with Rogers on the bench in favour of an extra attacker and 1:05 remaining on the clock.
After a scoreless first period, the Rock jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the middle frame.
Tyler Romain scored his 28th goal of the season early in the period and captain Jordan Rendle potted his team-leading 31st goal of the season with 3:54 remaining on the clock.
Voodoos goalie Nate McDonald blocked 30 of the 32 shots the Rock fired his way to pick up the victory.
Rogers turned aside 40 of the 44 shots he faced and was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The Rock did not dress forwards Alexandre Brisson (upper-body injury) and Jacob Shankar (serving the fourth game of a four-game suspension he picked up for a kneeing infraction during a game against the Crunch in Cochrane on Feb. 14), as well as goalie Jeff Veitch (illness) … The three stars of the game were Bazzana, Murray and Mantz … The Rock went 0-3 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 2-6 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Sportsplex was 176 … Friday night’s other action saw the Eskis edge the Espanola Express 4-3 in Iroquois Falls, the Rayside-Balfour Canadians blast the Eagles 8-5 in the Sault, Mich., and the Wildcats edge the Blind River Beavers 4-3 in Elliot Lake … The Rock will conclude their two-game road trip with a game against the Rapids in French River Saturday night.