GALLERY: Rock knock off Cubs, take over top spot in East Division

Timmins Rock goalie Patrick Boivin got his left pad in front of this shot off the stick of Greater Sudbury Cubs forward Cameron Shanks during the first period of Sunday afternoon’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. Boivin stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced to backstop the Rock to a 7-2 win over the Cubs — extending their point streak to 11 games in the process. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

Kaeden McArthur and Mason Svarich each scored twice to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 7-2 win over the NOJHL’s West Division-leading Greater Sudbury Cubs at the McIntyre Arena Sunday afternoon.

Combined with Saturday night’s 4-3 overtime win over the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake, the Rock have now accumulated at least a point in 11-straight games and moved into sole possession of top spot in the East Division standings.

For the most part, Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry liked what he saw out of his squad Sunday afternoon.

“It was a solid game,” he said.

“I thought we ran around a bit in the first period, but we cleaned it up and I thought our last 40 minutes was as solid as it gets.

“We took a few too many penalties for my liking, but special teams were fantastic this afternoon.

“This was a big win for us.”

While the Cubs were wrapping up a three-game weekend road trip, the Rock were playing their third game in four days, so fatigue shouldn’t have been an advantage for either squad.

And it was the Cubs who got on the scoreboard first Sunday afternoon, with Hudson Chitaroni scoring his 13th goal of the season at the 9:09 mark of the opening period.

The Rock tied things up four-and-a-half minutes later, with Svarich netting a power-play marker, his first of his two goals in the game and 12th of the season.

McArthur then gave the Rock a lead they would not surrender just past the midway mark of the second period when he scored his first of two goals on the afternoon and 11th of the season.

Less than a minute later Svarich added his second goal of the afternoon and 13th of the season to make it a 3-1 hockey game.

Jaden Lyons followed with his fourth goal of the season with seven minutes remaining in the frame.

That marker chased starting goalie Noah Metivier from the Greater Sudbury net, with Noah Beaulne coming on in relief.

The move appeared, for a short time, to provide the desired change in momentum when Marshall McCharles scored a power-play marker, his eighth goal of the season, to cut the Cubs’ deficit to a pair of goals.

It took the Rock just 19 seconds to regain the momentum, however, as Thomas Beard scored his seventh goal of the season to put the home side up 5-2 heading into the second intermission.

A pair of third-period power-play markers then helped the Rock put the game out of reach.

McArthur’s scored his second goal of the afternoon and 12th of the season to provide some icing on the cake.

And blue-liner Sam Gallagher closed out the scoring when he notched the first goal of his NOJHL career.

During his rookie campaign in the NOJHL, injuries slowed the progress of McArthur, but he now has more goals in 21 games this season than he did in 35 contests in 2022-23.

“He seems like a different player this year,” Perry said.

“When Kaeden McArthur is healthy and he is dialed in and he wants to compete, he is as talented as anybody in this league. He is big, he is smooth, he is strong, he has great vision and unbelievable finish.”

Patrick Boivn once again displayed the form that made him one of the top goaltenders in the NOJHL in 2022-23 Sunday afternoon.

“He has been absolutely fantastic back there,” Perry said.

“With Dryden (Riley) starting the last two games, he came in a little cold but we know what we have in Patty.

“When the chips are down, he is going to be there for us.”

The goal-scoring prowess of Svarich, who now has 13 in 10 games, continues to make the trade Perry made to acquire him from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks in exchange for a player development fee look better and better.

“We knew Mason was a great player, with offensive abilities, that’s why we acquired him but did I expect him to produce at this pace, no,” he said.

“Do I think it is going to last? I don’t know, but we are certainly happy for him. He is a great kid and we are certainly lucky to have him.”

The coach was also happy to see Gallagher reward with his first NOJHL goal — just the third scored by a Rock blue-liner this season — Sunday afternoon.

“The important thing for guys like him is playing the game the right way and doing the little things right, because that’s what’s hard as a rookie,” Perry said.

“He is a defenceman, so being clean and being efficient back there, not getting caught, not getting beat, the offence will come as he gets older and as he matures.

“He has got great instincts. He was quarterbacking our power play at the beginning of the year as a rookie, so that shows you the confidence we have in his abilities.

“So, it was really nice to see him get that first one.”

Gallagher was still smiling from ear to ear long after the final buzzer had sounded Sunday afternoon.

“I was on the last power-play unit and I gave the puck to (Ayden) Trottier and he gave it right back to me, so I just shot it,” he said, describing how the play developed.

“I saw the screen, so I was just trying to get the puck on net and avoid any bodies.”

Playing in his 19th game of the season, Gallagher was starting to wonder if he would ever get his first NOJHL goal.

“I have had chances throughout the whole year, so I was just kind of waiting for it,” he said.

“It feels good.”

With regular Rock blue-liners Kyle Trottier and Chase Longhurst-McIntyre out with injuries, youngsters like Gallagher have seen their playing time increase in recent games.

“They are great guys, leaders on the back end so you just try to do anything you can to make up for it (their absence from the lineup),” he said.

The Rock (13-6-2-0) now have a two-point lead on the Voodoos (12-6-0-2) atop the East Division standings, but Powassan has a game in hand.

Boivin stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced to pick up his seventh win of the season for the Rock.

Metivier, who turned aside 10 of the 14 shots the Rock directed his way in his 33:00 of work, was tagged with the loss.

Beaulne blocked 10 of the 13 shots he faced during his 27:00 of relief work.


Harry Clark’s second goal of the game, 1:36 into overtime, provided the Rock with their winning edge in Saturday night’s 4-3 win at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.

Perry wasn’t surprised to see the Gold Miners put up such a tough battle, especially on their home ice.

“You are not going to get an easy night,” he said.

“First, no teams like us. Second, we are the defending champions, so everybody wants that win (against us) on their record.

“Games against us are circled on everybody’s schedule and if we don’t show up ready to compete, we are going to lose.”

The two teams exchanged first-period goals, with Noah Woodard’s first of two tallies and 10th of the season giving the Gold Miners a 1-0 lead and Ryan Armitage’s unassisted marker, his third goal of the season, tying things up before the first intermission.

Woodard’s second goal of the game and 11th of the season, the lone tally of the middle frame, put the Gold Miners in front 2-1.

A Benjamin Armatage power-play marker, his sixth goal of the season, then increased the Gold Miners’ advantage.

Clark’s ninth goal of the season, also a power-play marker, cued the Rock comeback just 21 seconds later.

And Nolan Ring’s seventh goal of the season, with five-and-a-half minutes remaining in regulation, deadlocked the contest at 3-3.

That set the stage for Clark’s game-winning heroics, as net scored his second goal of the night and 10th of the season to extend the Rock’s point streak to 10 games.

Dryden Riley stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced to earn his sixth victory of the season for the Rock.

Graydon Mole, who turned aside 35 of the 39 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss for the Gold Miners.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game Sunday were McArthur, Boivin and Svarich, while Clark, Woodard and Mole were selected Saturday … The Rock went 3-8 on the power play Sunday, while the Cubs were 1-7 with the man advantage. Saturday, the Rock went 1-1 on the power play, while the Gold Miners were 1-3 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday was 1,026, while 415 fans attended Saturday’s contest at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex … Sunday’s other action saw the Iroquois Falls Storm upset the Lumberjacks 3-2in overtime in Hearst, the Soo Eagles edge the Rapids 6-5 in French River and the Beavers top the Elliot Lake Vikings 7-3 in Blind River … The Rock will return to action on Thursday when they will take on the Rapids in French River. The next home game will be on Nov. 17 when they will host the Iroquois Falls Storm at the McIntyre Arena, at 7:30 p.m.