TIMMINS, Ont. – A Tyler Schwindt tally with just 12 seconds remaining in regulation saw the Timmins Rock rally late and pull out a thrilling 4-3 victory over the French River Rapids in a thrilling Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League match-up Sunday at McIntyre Arena.
Making the most of their opportunities in the first period, the Rapids struck twice near the midway point of the frame to take an early 2-0 lead.
Chase Lefebvre got the first one for French River as he was left with a one-timer into the open side of the net after taking a crisp cross-ice feed from Leo Chambers.
Less than a minute later, the visitors added another off a neutral zone turnover as newcomer Ryan Goral collected his first NOJHL goal by finishing off a feed courtesy of Dominik Godin while in front of Timmins’ netminder Konrad Simard, who like the first goal, had little chance on the play.
Down a skater late in the first, Rock team captain Schwindt got his club back in it as he darted down the ice on a shorthanded breakaway where he made a quick move to his left and ripped a shot past French River netminder Cole Sheffield at 19:30.
Heading to the second stanza, each side would strike once as French River carried a 3-2 lead into the third.
Spencer Hughes made it 3-1 Rapids at 14:21 off a nice rush down the left wing as he picked it the right corner with a quality snap shot from the face off dot.
Getting that back, a couple of shifts later, Liam Wells made a quality move on a French River defender, moved to the middle and proceeded to wire a shot into the top left hand corner on the visitors goaltender.
Late in the third, with Simard on the bench for an extra attacker, the Rock drew level after Bode Dunford put one to the net from the left side that was tipped in front by Christopher Engelbert at 18:42.
Then with overtime looming and a faceoff deep in Timmins territory, the Rock won the draw and sent the puck out of their zone where a waiting Schwindt scooped it up off a French River player’s skate before roaring down the ice, powering to the net and rifling the game-winner past Sheffield’s blocker and in to complete the late comeback.
Shots on net ended up 35-15 in favour of the Rock with Simard getting the win while Sheffield suffered the hard-luck defeat.
Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network