TIMMINS, Ont. – A Tyler Gilberds tally with 5:17 remaining in the third period proved to be the game-winner as the Timmins Rock came back to defeat the Hearst Lumberjacks 5-4 in a back-and-forth Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League affair Tuesday evening at McIntyre Arena.
A red-hot Ryan Glazer got Hearst going offensively eight minutes into the match-up after taking a Raphael Lajeunesse feed, before moving down the left wing and ripping one over the shoulder of Rock starter Gavin McCarthy.
Skating in his 100th NOJHL contest, Timmins captain Tyler Schwindt leveled the proceedings at 15:29 as he was left unmarked in front and took a nice cross-ice pass from Justin Charette before proceeding to snap a shot over the blocker of Lumberjacks netminder Liam Oxner.
However, the visitors tallied twice before the first period was complete to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission.
Cody Walker put Hearst back on top 80 seconds after Schwindt’s effort as he was the beneficiary of a whiffed clearing attempt that allowed him to eventually tuck a chance past the outstretched pad of McCarthy.
Glazer then notched his second of the stanza, in the final minute, as he was provided a tap-in following another Rock turnover while being set-up by Brayden Palfi, to give him nine goals in his past five outings.
Timmins cut into the deficit early in the middle frame on a delayed penalty as Charette forced his way to the net and neatly redirected a Felix Cadieux-Fredette attempt from the left point.
Then picking up a two-man advantage midway through the session, the home side tied it when defenceman Bode Dunford blasted in a one-timer from the high slot that was teed up Schwindt at 11:12.
Knotted at three entering the third, the Rock took the lead four and a half minutes in as Riley Brousseau sped down the left side fired a shot that was blocked but then collected his own rebound and slid a low backhand through the legs of Oxner.
Answering with an equalizer of their own with 8:20 to go, Jaden Raad slammed in fifth of the season into the open side just moments after a big save by McCarthy who stymied Lajeunesse.
Capping off their comeback, Timmins pressured a turnover by Brousseau who in turn got it to Nolan Ring and saw him make a nice back pass right to Gilberds parked to the left of the net where he promptly whipped in the difference maker.
Shots on goal for the night concluded 38-31 in favour of the Rock with McCarthy picking up his league-leading 14th victory of the campaign while Oxner suffered the narrow defeat.
Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
VIDEO “Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel