THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS Timmins Rock forward Mahingan Decontie and Powassan blue-liner Eric Allair follow the flight of the puck as a rebound bounces off Voodoos goalie Joe Vrbetic during the third period of Sunday’s NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena. The Rock skated to a 6-1 victory over the Voodoos, for their seventh win in their past eight games. With the win, the Rock moved into sole possession of second place in the East Division — two points ahead of the Voodoos.
The Timmins Rock thumped the Powassan Voodoos 6-1 at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday to move into sole possession of second place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings.
With the victory — their seventh in the past eight games — the Rock (11-5-1-0) now have 23 points on the season, three fewer than the NOJHL-leading Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (13-3-0-0) and two more than the Voodoos (10-6-1-0).
For the Voodoos, it was their fourth-straight loss and the third in three nights after they dropped a 7-1 decision to the Crunch in Cochrane Friday night and suffered a 6-3 setback against the Lumberjacks in Hearst Saturday night.
Rock coach Corey Beer was pleased to see his squad rebound after having their six-game winning streak snapped by the Blind River Beavers Saturday night at the McIntyre Arena.
“The first two periods were unbelievable,” he said.
“I thought we played some great hockey. We had a pretty pointed video session before the game about how we wanted to come back and play better hockey than we did Saturday.
“For 40 minutes, we played unbelievable hockey and I am very happy with our guys tonight. They did a great job and it was pretty evident all night long we were the better team.”
The outcome of Sunday’s contest was never really in doubt, as the Rock outshot the Voodoos 12-4 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Josh Dickson gave the Rock a one-goal lead at the 5:57 mark of the frame when he netted a power-play marker, his third goal of the season.
Defenceman Josh Anderson then tallied what would prove to be the game winning goal, his second of the season, just over three minutes later.
The puck continued to roll the Rock’s way early in the second period, with Riley Brousseau striking for a shorthanded marker, his fifth goal of the season, at the 2:05 mark.
The Voodoos were finally able to get on the scoreboard just over two minutes later, with Carson Lux scoring his first goal of the season to cut the visitors’ deficit to 3-1.
The Rock kept coming, however, with captain Derek Seguin restoring the home side’s three-goal advantage when he found the back of the net for his 10th tally of the season.
Six-and-a-half minutes later, Dickson scored his second goal of the game and four of the season, an unassisted marker.
Dickson has shown signs in the past couple of games that he is starting to find his offensive groove.
“I am starting to feel really comfortable out there,” he said.
“I have been getting some good offensive opportunities. In practice I have been working hard and trying to move my feet as much as I can and it has been translating well into the games.”
Dickson skated on a line with Seguin and Keegan McMullen on Sunday and the trio seemed to find some chemistry.
“Those guys work their butts off,” he said.
“The really did a good job of finding me in the slot.”
That spelled the end of Voodoos starting goalie Christian Cicigoi’s night, with Joe Vrbetic coming off the bench to relieve him.
The move had little impact, however, as less than a minute and a half later Darcy Haupt netted his second goal of the season to put the Rock in front 6-1.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the third period, although both squads had numerous power-play opportunities — including a few of the five-on-three variety.
By the time the final buzzer sounded, referees Dan Ouellet and Stewart McLeod had logged 24 infractions between the two teams.
Former Timmins Major Dryden Rivet — who played three games with the Rock as an affiliate player in the 2017-18 season — was ejected from the game after being assessed a two-minute minor penalty for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting and a game misconduct following a one-sided tilt that saw him pummel former teammate Linden Spencer, who drew a two-minute minor for roughing.
In addition, Rivet received a one-game suspension and a fine from the NOJHL for picking up his second instigator infraction.
Later in the period, a more evenly matched bout between Anderson and Voodoos blue-liner Eric Allair saw the both ejected from the contest after they each drew five-minute majors for fighting and game misconducts.
Anderson and Allair also picked up one-game suspensions from the NOJHL for being involved in a fight in the final 10 minutes of a hockey game.
Then Rock blue-liner Will Caston and Lux were handed misconduct penalties for inciting.
And finally, Voodoos forward Henry Scott was banished after receiving a two-minute minor for roughing, a two-minute minor for inciting and a game misconduct for making a travesty of the game, while Rock forward Riley Robitaille was sent off with a two-minute minor for roughing and a misconduct for inciting.
As a result of his actions, Scott has received a three-game suspension from the NOJHL.
The Rock coach was once again impressed with the effort put forth by Dickson in Sunday’s contest.
“He is certainly taking his game to the next level,” Beer said.
“He has his feet engaged and he has such creative instincts out there. He can be a threat whether he is playing in the middle or on the wing.
“He did a great job of supporting Seguin and McMullen. He has been putting in a lot of work and effort and for him to have that kind of impact offensively was great to see again tonight.”
Haupt drew a little extra praise, as well, and not just for the goal he scored in the contest.
“Darcy is a relentless forechecker,” Beer said.
“Everyone knows how hard he works away from the puck and how much he prides himself in being able to hunt guys down.
“It was great to see him reward with a goal. The team really comes alive when depth players score big-time goals like that.
“It was kind of the nail in the coffin there at the end. It was a heck of a goal.”
Meanwhile, Brousseau is continuing to gain confidence in his offensive game.
“He is playing some of his best hockey right now and he really understands how we want to play in all three zones,” Beer said.
“Riley is a guy we can use in a checking role or an offensive role. He can play the power play or penalty kill. He does a lot for us and you sometimes forget he is only 17 years old.”
When a team plays as well as the Rock did on Sunday, there is no shortage of players worthy of praise.
“Saturday night, I didn’t want to mention anybody but tonight going down the list, everyone was great. We got so many contributions from everyone.
“The PK (penalty kill) was outstanding, our power play was effective and I loved our five-on-five play tonight.”
Voodoos coach Max Gavin knows his squad didn’t deserve to win Sunday night’s game.
“Our compete level wasn’t where it needed to be and when it comes down to it, we got outworked in a lot of areas tonight,” he said.
“Our emotions got the best of us in the third period. It was an emotional game and unfortunately we came out on the wrong side of it.
“We definitely have got to learn from this.”
As cold as the Voodoos have been during the past four games, Gavin still have confidence in his players.
“We have a young team and they are used to playing maybe a 25- to 30-game schedule in midget or minor midget and now they are playing a 56-game schedule against bigger, older guys.
“There is an adjustment period, but there are no excuses for not bringing your game.”
Not only have the Voodoos played three games in three nights, they have also played eight games in 15 nights.
“It’s a lot of hockey and we are just dealing with it,” Gavin said.
“The only good thing about stretches like this (three losses in three nights) is you can teach a lot.”
Despite the one-sided setback, there were a few Voodoos who impressed their coach in Sunday’s contest.
“I thought Will Petrie worked really hard for us tonight with limited ice time,” Gavin said.
“He competed and I thought David Campbell and (Timmins native) Gabby Kioki, some of our younger guys really stepped up.
“Cade Herd obviously stepped up, as well, but it is tough when things don’t go the way you want them to out there.”
Rock goalie Tyler Masternak turned aside 12 of the 13 shots he faced in the contest to earn his ninth win of the season.
Cicigoi, who stopped 17 of the 22 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss. Vrbetic made 20 saves in relief.
NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Dickson, Brousseau and Haupt … The Rock went 1-11 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 0-6 with the man advantage … Official attendace at the McIntyre Arena was 722 … The Rock will travel to Blind River for a game against the Beavers on Friday night, then on to the Sault, Mich., for a game with the Eagles Saturday night and finally to Sault Ste. Marie for a game with the Thunderbirds Sunday afternoon. The next home game for the Rock will be on Saturday, Nov. 3, when they entertain the Eagles at the McIntyre Arena.