Rock edge Rapids 2-1

Close score despite Timmins outshooting French River 60 to 22.

Andrew Autio
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The Timmins Rock won their third game in a row on Sunday afternoon at the McIntyre Arena with a narrow 2-1 victory over the French River Rapids.

The final score may have been a flattering one for the Rapids, as they were outshot by the Rock 60 to 22.

The Rapids once again got an enormous effort from goaltender Chase Johnson, as he made 58 saves, but a Karter Renouf goal early in the third period stood up as the game winner, and sent the official crowd of 782 home happy.

“We were good in a lot of areas,” said Rock coach Corey Beer. “I loved our composure. French River played a heck of a weekend and didn’t get rewarded for it, unfortunately for them, but it was a great hockey game and I liked us from start to finish to be quite honest.”

Timmins came into the game well rested, having not played since last Friday, and the Rapids were playing their third contest in less than 72 hours.

Members of the Timmins Rock celebrate Josh Dickson’s game tying goal early in the second period of Sunday’s 2-1 win against French River.
ANDREW AUTIO/For The Daily Press

However, it was the visitors who struck first as Benjamin Naimool deflected in a point shot on a Rapids powerplay in the final minute of the opening frame for his fourth goal of the season to give French River a 1-0 lead.

Timmins tied the game early in the second period on a two-man advantage as Josh Dickson blasted his team-leading 11th goal of the season past Johnson.

Despite a big gap in shots and chances, including three or four shots off the posts, there was an air of tension throughout The Mac heading into the third, still deadlocked at 1-1 against the last team to defeat the Rock.

But a dominant final period was kickstarted by an outstanding shift from Renouf, veteran Stewart Parnell, and newcomer Jonah Devereux to put the Rock back in front. Working a strong cycle game and tiring out the Rapids defenders, Parnell curled behind the net and put a pass right on Renouf’s tape, who one-timed a low shot past Johnson before he was even set.

“We were working our system down low with our forecheck. Good thing I had Stew there to give me the puck, I was in the right spot, and luckily I put in the back of the net,” said Renouf post-game.

The Rock outshot the Rapids 23-5 in the third period, limiting nearly any hopes of a comeback by maintaining puck possession for the vast majority of the period.

“The more we contain the puck, the more opportunities we get to put the puck in the back of the net. That’s the way we like to play, and that’s how we played today,” said Renouf.

Johnson, who stymied the Rock in a 2-1 Rapids win in Noelville on Oct. 20, came up just short this time around, but was still highly impressive. Rock rookie goaltender Vance Meyer stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced to pick up his eighth win of the season.

Timmins was playing without one of their top defencemen in Josh Anderson, who missed the game with an illness, although he isn’t expected to be out of the lineup moving forward.

Beer was thrilled with the play of his defence corps, with many playing increased minutes with Anderson out.

“This group is incredible. Owen Shier played with a heavy heart today, a year ago his grandfather passed away, and for him to play the kind of game he did, I think its inspiring for all of us,” said Beer. “The rest of the group was terrific. The box-outs, the transition game, and puck management. Its a true indication of our team, and we’re at our best when our defencemen are active and moving the puck, and I think that was on full display today.”

The Rock are now headed on the road for a Thursday night match against the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, before a Saturday night showdown against the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake.

On Monday, the Rock were ranked as No. 12 in the nation by the CJHL. The rival Powassan Voodoos moved up to No. 3.