Rock enjoy dominant weekend

Timmins downed Elliot Lake on Friday and blanked Kirkland Lake on Saturday.

Andrew Autio
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With a full five days to reflect on their 5-4 overtime loss to the Powassan Voodoos last Sunday, the Timmins Rock were back in action this past weekend with two matches, including their first road game.


It’s a rare occurrence in hockey to have a goalie allow six goals against, but is named the first star, but that is exactly what happened on Friday night at the McIntyre Arena.

The Rock welcomed the Elliot Lake Wildcats to town for their only visit to Timmins this season, and proceeded to once again pepper the opposition with an unrelenting barrage of shots.

About 10 minutes in, recently acquired defenceman Evan Beaudry scored his first NOJHL goal as he streaked in from the point and wired one past Wildcats goalie Parker Simpson to give the Rock a 1-0 heading into the first intermission.

The shots in period one — Rock 28, Wildcats 6.

Sparkplug winger Kain Harrietha buried his first NOJHL goal 10 minutes in the second period, just a few seconds after hopping onto the ice during a line change. The puck bounced off a few players and dropped right in the slot for Harrietha who surprised Simpson with a quick wrister through the five hole to put Timmins up 2-0.

“The puck came loose, and I just put it home. It was good to get the ‘monkey off the back’ in my third game, so I was really happy,” said Harrietha post-game.

But the Wildcats iced the crowd temporarily with a pair of quick goals shortly thereafter. Eric Vanderhoff scored his third of the season at the 10:38 mark, followed by a dazzling end-to-end rush by defenceman Robert Carr, sniping one in the top corner past Rock goaltender Vance Meyer just two minutes later.

Second-year Rock blueliner Owen Shier gave Timmins back the lead with just under a minute left to play in the second period, as his point shot found its way through multiple bodies and past Simpson.

Timmins Rock defenceman Owen Shier (6) and his teammates celebrate his goal late in the second period of Friday night’s 6-2 win over the Elliot Lake Wildcats.
ANDREW AUTIO/The Daily Press

The Rock outshot the Wildcats 21-9 in the period.

The third period was all Timmins. Riley Robitaille scored his third power play goal of the season at the 6:21 mark, followed by a Josh Anderson goal at 17:49.

The crowd of 871 spectators was abuzz when rookie (and Sudbury Wolves prospect) Cameron Kosurko scored a beautiful breakaway goal with just over a minute left to put a cap on the scoring.

The Rock put 19 more shots on net to the Wildcat’ four.

Final shots: Rock 68, Wildcats 19.

To put it bluntly, without Simpson’s heroics in net, the score would have gotten ugly.

Simpson earned the first star, and then some, stopping 62 of the 68 shots he faced.

Meyer was once again solid, stopping 17 of the 19 he faced. Rock brass is counting on Meyer to ease the workload of top goalie Tyler Masternak this season, to prevent any possible fatigue as the team builds towards a long playoff run.

“I definitely think he’s making good strides for us. He gives us those breaks from Masternak that are extremely needed. Everyone is pulling their weight here early on, so it’s a great thing to have,” said Rock head coach Corey Beer.

Meyer had to deal with long stretches of the game without any direct action, something that goalies on strong teams like the Rock must learn to battle through.

“It’s hard obviously, seeing a couple of shots per period, but you know, you’ve just got to try and stay warm and hopefully get through the game and keep your team in it,” said the rookie Meyer, who improved to 2-0-0 thus far.


Travelling down the road for their first away game of the season, the Rock were in Kirkland Lake for a Sunday night matchup against the Gold Miners.

Once again, they got off to a hot start as Karter Renouf scored his second goal of the season just 1:28 into the first. Veteran centreman Tyler Gilberds also scored his second at 9:01 of the first.

Captain Derek Seguin joined the party, notching his second of the season midway through the second period.

Wingers Riley Brousseau and Tyler Schwindt scored their first goals of the season in the third period to round out the scoring. Masternak stopped all 21 shots he faced to earn the shutout, the ninth of his NOJHL career.

Of note, the official NOJHL shot count for the Rock in this game was 27. The Rock’s chart had 48.

Whichever you believe, it was the probably the most complete game the team has played this season according to Beer.

“We had all facets going. I loved our transition game and breakouts. We managed the puck really well, and it certainly gave our offence a lot of opportunities. We had the shots at 48 for, 21 against, so again, right on par with what we’re averaging in terms of our offensive output, and what we’re holding teams to,” said Beer.

“I think the guys are really buying into this whole ‘puck possession’ thing, and its paying off for us early on.”

So far, the Rock are looking like a very balanced group with plenty of scoring depth, getting contributions from all four lines and the entire defence corps.

In their two weekend games, they scored 11 goals from 11 different players.

“It’s pretty nice. The guys are finding different areas to be open in the offensive zone, whether it be on the rush, or off the cycle. Our defencemen are active all the time, it’s great,” said Beer.

“The guys are pretty dialed-in to what we’re trying to do here. Obviously it’s one thing to play good offensively, but we’re doing a heck of a job in the D-zone right now too.”

Beer continues to be impressed by the steady veteran play of Masternak, now in his third season with the team, particularly his mental toughness in dealing with long stretches without facing shots.

“Masty is one of the best at it. His puck-playing ability is great. He’s a third defender back there, he makes great plays for us, and it’s certainly well documented how many shutouts he has in this league. He’s really the backbone of this team. When he’s in the net, you have confidence that you’re going to get a good performance, and have every chance to win,” said Beer.


Fans won’t have to wait long to cheer on the team, as the Rock will welcome their bitter rival Hearst Lumberjacks to the McIntyre Arena at 7:30 on Wednesday night for their first clash of the season.

The Lumberjacks of course are defending NOJHL champions. They defeated the Rock in an epic seven-game series in the second round of the playoffs last season, a series that included plenty of controversy and heated battles, both on the ice, and in the stands, as both teams have massive followings in their communities, and both have several returning players.

“We’ll probably pick up right where we left off,” said Beer. “I think it’s going to be great hockey. They’re bringing back some returning guys from last year’s championship squad, and we’ve got a lot of guys who were a part of it last year. With the hostility between the two clubs, it’s going to be great. The new guys are going to get well acquainted; we play them eight times this year. The games between us and Hearst are tight-checking, its great action for the fans, and it’s exciting for us as coaches, to see how our teams match up against another great team, so I’m looking forward to it.”

The Rock will also host the Espanola Express on Saturday night at 7p.m., and the Soo Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.