Cochrane Crunch goalie Ben DiGiallonardo pounces on a rebound before Timmins Rock forward Nicolas Pigeon can get his stick on the puck as teammates Benjamin Orgil, left, and Dylan McKittrick look on during Friday night’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. The Rock got goals from eight different players, including Pigeon, and went on to defeat the Crunch 8-2. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
The Timmins Rock goals from eight different players en route to an 8-2 win over the Cochrane Crunch at the McIntyre Arena Friday night.
That victory allowed the Rock (12-1-1-0) to remain within two points of the Powassan Voodoos (12-2-2-1) atop the NOJHL’s East Division and overall standings.
And the Rock still have three games in hand on their rivals.
Rock assistant coach Marc Bisson was happy to see the home side take care of business Friday night.
“We definitely came out firing on all cylinders and we were hungry, winning all the battles and getting to lose pucks,” he said.
“We put a lot of shots on net and had a great first period, absolutely.”
In an interview with The Daily Press on Thursday, Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry had acknowledged Friday’s contest could have been a trap game, so Bisson was happy to see the home side didn’t look past the Crunch.
“I agree with Brandon, it could have been the perfect trap scenario,” he said.
“We could have been looking ahead to a formidable opponent in French River, long bus ride there Saturday, play the game and come back, a long day, but the guys really came out and played a great game.
“The first 20 minutes, we definitely took control of the game and didn’t give Cochrane a chance to answers.”
Five unanswered first period goals allowed the Rock to take command of their game against the Crunch.
Riley Brousseau got the puck rolling for the home side when he scored his sixth goal of the season 4:43 into the contest.
Liam Wells then added his fifth goal of the season seven minutes later to double the Rock advantage.
Nicolas Pigeon then followed with what would prove to be the game-winning goal, his third tally of the season, just over a minute later.
Blue-liner Chase Longhurst’s first NOJHL goal with five-and-a-half minutes remaining in the opening frame pushed the Rock advantage to four goals.
And with less than two minutes remaining on the clock blue-liner Bode Dunford, fresh off being named the NOJHL’s Defenceman of the Month for October, chipped in with his fourth goal of the season.
Henry Brock’s power-play marker, his second goal of the season, increased the Rock lead to 6-0 at the 7:53 mark of the second period.
And blue-liner Cameron Dutkiewicz added his fourth goal of the season with just over three minutes remaining in the frame to send the Rock to the dressing room for the second intermission with a seven-goal lead.
Eric Barnard’s second goal of the season, at the 6:22 mark of the third period, increased the Rock lead to 8-0 and it appeared the only thing remaining to be decided was whether or not goalie Konrad Simard would post his first career NOJHL shutout.
A five-minute major for kneeing assessed to Pigeon just past the midway point of the period gave the Crunch the opportunity to avoid that fate and they capitalized with a pair of power-play markers.
It took Liam Boswell just 35 seconds to spoil Simard’s shutout bid, as he scored his eighth goal of the season.
And Jake Alton followed with his eighth goal of the season less than two minutes later.
Bisson was pleased to see the Rock enjoy such a balanced attack Friday night, with 15 of the 18 skaters dressed picking up at least a single point in the contest.
“It was nice to see Chase Longhurst get his first goal tonight and Eric Barnard get another goal after being only in the lineup for about a month,” he said.
“He played a bit of defence today because we went with 13 (forwards) and five (blue-liners).
“Wells keeps producing, Pigeon keeps producing, Brousseau keeps producing.
“It was great to see Dutkiewicz on the back end with another goal.”
Forward Dylan McElhinny, who picked up an assist on Wells’ goal, also had a solid night for the Rock.
“I would say this was Dylan’s best game,” Bisson said.
“He was outstanding tonight and really kept control of the puck. He used his big body and his reach and definitely had a great game.”
A former goaltender coach, Bisson would have liked to have seen Simard pick up the shutout.
“We really let him down,” he said.
“I feel bad for Konrad. Our PK (penalty kill) has been good, but it was not good tonight. It was probably a penalty we shouldn’t have taken.”
Simard stopped 12 of the 14 shots he faced to pick up his third victory in three starts this season.
Crunch goalie Ben DiGiallonardo, who turned aside 36 of the 44 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Dunford, Brousseau and Wells … The Rock went 2-4 on the power play, while the Crunch were 2-7 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 655 … Friday’s other action saw the Powassan Voodoos dump the Rapids 6-2 in French River, the Lumberjacks knock off the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 5-3 in Hearst and the Thunderbirds get past the Elliot Lake Red Wings 4-1 in Sault Ste. Marie … The Rock will return to action Saturday night when they take on the Rapids in French River. The next home game will be on Sunday, Nov. 21, when the Rock host the Gold Miners at the McIntyre Arena, at 3 p.m.