UPDATE / VIDEO / GALLERY: GAME 6 – Boivin backstops Rock to series-evening victory

Timmins goalie Patrick Boivin, shown here preparing to make a stop in Game 5 at the McIntyre Arena, made 44 saves to backstop the Rock to a 5-2 win over the Voodoos at the Powassan Sportsplex Saturday night. With the best-of-seven NOJHL East Division final now tied at 3-3, the two teams will now face off in Game 7 at the McIntyre Arena on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m. jpg, TD, apsmc

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

Photos: voodooshockey.com

POWASSAN — On the brink of elimination, with their backs against the wall, the Timmins Rock dug deep into their championship pedigree to produce a 5-2 win over the Voodoos at the Sportsplex Saturday night.

As a result, the two teams, now deadlocked at 3-3, will head to Timmins for Game 7 of the best-of-seven NOJHL East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Tuesday night.

The winner of that contest will advance to face off against the West Division champion Greater Sudbury Cubs, while the loser will have all off season to contemplate what might have been.

The fact all six games in the series to this point have been won by the visiting team will be totally meaningless Tuesday night, as anything can happen in a Game 7.

It will all come down to which team makes the fewest mistakes and which team capitalizes on its opportunities.

Saturday night, that team was the Rock who — despite being outshot 14-7 in the opening period — built up a 2-0 lead and never looked back.

Unassisted goals 30 seconds apart off the sticks of Ryan Armitage and Liam Wells, the third of the playoffs for each Rock forward, early in the frame got the puck moving for Timmins.

And while the Rock blew 2-0 leads in Game 1 and Game 2 of the series on home ice, only to lose in overtime, and then again in Game 5 at the McIntyre Arena in Game 5, leading to a double overtime setback, they bent but did not break Saturday night.

Rhys Smetham’s first marker of the playoffs, with eight seconds remaining in the opening period, cut the Timmins lead to a single goal.

The Rock got that goal back 44 seconds into the middle frame when Nolan Ring netted his third goal of the playoffs.

Once again, the Voodoos battled back to cut the Timmins lead to 3-2 when Tucker Shields scored his fourth goal of the playoffs, but that would be as close as the home side would come to getting back on even terms.

Mason Svarich provided the Rock with a little insurance with 13 seconds remaining in the period, as he netted a power-play marker, his seventh goal of the playoffs.

And Harry Clark closed out the scoring when he added another power-play marker, his ninth goal of the playoffs, with just over three minutes remaining in regulation, to make the final score 5-2 in favour of the visitors.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was pleased with what he saw from his squad Saturday night, even though the final shots read 46-30 in favour of the Voodoos.

“The boys played fantastic, right from the first puck drop tonight, they were awesome,” he said.

“We had to kill a lot of penalties the first two periods, let’s put it that way.”

And kill them, they did, all seven of them, while the power play was almost as effective capitalizing on three of their four opportunities.

“Our special teams were awesome tonight and our penalty kill has been fantastic,” Perry said.

“The power play did its job, as well, and it was a great effort by both units.”

The Rock coach was impressed with what he saw from everybody in the lineup Saturday night.

“I thought everybody played great, up and down the lineup, and Patty (Rock goalie Patrick Boivin) was real solid in the cage and I thought Nolan Ring was our best player,” Perry said.

The coach had singled out Ring for a mistake he made in Game 5 of the series at the McIntyre Arena that led to the first Voodoos goal and the start of the comeback that ended in double overtime heartbreak for the Rock and their fans.

“Maybe I unfairly criticized him but I have coached him a long time and he is like a son to me,” Perry said.

“I just wanted him to be better, but maybe there was a better way to relay that message, but regardless, he got the message and was outstanding tonight.

“And Patty made a huge backdoor save for us in the last five minutes. He was solid man. He is an unbelievable goalie and we are super lucky to have him back there.”

The Rock coach indicated they didn’t really make any big changes between Game 5 and Game 6 that would account for their success Saturday night.

“We just stuck to the game plan, I thought we have been the better team all series,” Perry said.

“We had just had some unlucky bounces and made some untimely mistakes

Boivin, who stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced, earned his fifth win of the playoffs.

Daniel Dirracolo, who turned aside 25 of the 30 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Ring, Boivin and Smetham … The Rock went 3-4 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 0-7 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Powassan Sportsplex was 292 … The Rock will host the Voodoos for Game 7 of the best-of-seven series at the McIntyre Arena on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.

“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel