Timmins Rock sweep the weekend with wins over the Eagles and Rapids
Finishing up a very cushy seven-game home-stand this holiday weekend, the Timmins Rock once again proved they can win in several different ways, and have now emerged victorious in six-straight games.
TIMMINS ROCK 4, SOO EAGLES 3 (Friday)
The NOJHL’s lone American franchise, the Soo Eagles, visited the McIntyre Arena for their lone visit this season in front of an official attendance of 839 on Friday night.
The Rock had to play without captain Derek Seguin, who was battling an illness, for the first time this season, leaving some big minutes up for grabs.
Timmins outshot the Eagles 13-6 in the opening frame, but a blast from Stephen Smoody on a two-man advantage late in the period gave the Soo a 1-0 lead.
Another strong period by the Rock in the second didn’t amount to much, thanks to the brilliant play of veteran Eagles goaltender Shane Brancato. Soo defenceman Malik Ali scored a nice shorthanded goal at the 15:52 mark of the period to stun the crowd, and put Timmins in a hole.
The Rock were able to regain some momentum with a timely goal from defenceman Josh Anderson with just over a minute left in the period to make it 2-1 heading into the third.
Timmins came out and played one of their stronger periods of the young season in the third. Stewart Parnell tied the game at 4:12 of the period, finishing off a beautiful pass from David Laroche.
Just 11 seconds later, Laroche found himself in all alone on Brancato and squeaked it through his pads to put Timmins in front, and notch his first goal as a member of the Rock.
Tyler Gilberds added his seventh goal of the season at the 13:29 mark for a bit of breathing room. This proved to be the winner, as the Soo’s Brice French scored his first NOJHL goal with 18 seconds left to make it interesting, but the Rock were able to chew up the clock and emerge with a 4-3 victory.
Final shots were in favour of Timmins, 40 to 21. Tyler Masternak picked up the win for the Rock.
“It’s always tough when your captain is out obviously. Your leader, your go-to guy,” said Masternak post-game, adding that playing through a bit of adversity can be very helpful.
“It’s good for the rest of the boys though, because they all know they’ve got to step up and make some things happen. They get a chance to shine on nights like this, and everyone did a good job of that tonight.”
Rock head coach Corey Beer gave extra credit to his underrated group of defencemen.
“I thought the six of them were outstanding,” he said. “Josh Anderson played monster minutes. Owen Shier and Brendan Boyce though, for me, were arguably the two best players on the ice the entire game.
“Big ‘hats off’ to our back end tonight. They were the ones that kind of drove the bus for us.”
Laroche, who came close to scoring in all three of his previous games, was ecstatic with his first.
“Feels great just to end the drought,” he said. “I just wanted to get it over with, and it was in a big moment too.”
TIMMINS ROCK 9, FRENCH RIVER RAPIDS 1 (Sunday)
In their final home game until Oct. 25, the Rock welcomed a French River Rapids squad who was coming off a long bus trip down from Hearst, where they had lost to the Lumberjacks on both Friday and Saturday nights.
Timmins welcomed Seguin back into the lineup, but were playing their first game since they learned of the passing of forward Linden Spencer’s mother Shelley on Saturday. A moment of silence was held before puck drop in her honour.
The Rock came out flying, and fired 18 shots at Rapids goalie Sebastian Woods in the opening frame. Josh Dickson scored a powerplay goal at the 6:42 mark to open the scoring for Timmins, but that was answered just 15 seconds later as French River’s Benjamin Naimool buried a loose puck behind Rock starter Vance Meyer to send the teams to the dressing room tied 1-1.
Whatever was said during the intermission must have lit a fuse, as the Rock came out and absolutely dominated the entire second period. Dickson scored his second of the game just over a minute into the second, followed by goals from Cameron Kosurko, Parnell, Anderson, and Karter Renouf to give Timmins a 6-1 cushion after two periods.
Shier sniped his third of the season at the 3:43 mark of the third, followed by Rhys Chiddenton’s first of the season a few minutes later. Gilberds added a shorthanded marker at 15:38 to round out the scoring. Meyer picked up the win in net for the Rock. Final shots were 41-14 for Timmins. Official attendance was 773.
Laroche racked up three assists in the win, and has scored at least a point in every game he’s played for the Rock.
After the game, Beer downplayed any type of dramatic speech in between the first and second periods.
“I think it was more about sticking to our game plan. I thought early on, we were maybe trying to force too many cute plays. They’re a hardworking, physical team, so when they were pressuring us, we weren’t really ready for that off the hop,” he said.
OFF TO AMERICA
The Rock didn’t have too much time to digest a Thanksgiving feast before heading off on Monday to the NOJHL Showcase, which is taking place for the first time in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
The Showcase brings together all 12 teams for two days of neutral-site games packed with scouts from leagues near and far.
Timmins plays its first game on Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. against the Rayside-Balfour Canadians, followed by a battle with the Elliot Lake Wildcats on Wednesday afternoon at 3:30.
MOVING ON UP … INTO THE TOP 10
The new CJHL Top 20 rankings came were released on Monday, and thanks to another strong weekend, the Timmins Rock are now ranked eighth in Canada. The first place Powassan Voodoos moved up to fifth, while the Blind River Beavers inched down to 19th.