Timmins Rock goalie Eric Jackson makes a save on a shot from Nick Davis of the Powassan Voodoos during the second period of Saturday night’s NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena. Rock defenceman Shawn Sloan ensured Davis was not able to pounce on the rebound. The Rock jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the contest, but the Voodoos stormed back to earn a 3-3 double-overtime tie in their final game of a three-game road trip through the North. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS
By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)
TIMMINS – Jordan Picard scored a pair of goals to lead the Timmins Rock to a 3-3 double-overtime tie against the NOJHL-leading Powassan Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena Saturday night.
The single point the Rock picked up, combined with the two they earned during Friday night’s 5-4 overtime win in Kirkland Lake, allowed them to move into a fourth-place tie with the Hearst Lumberjacks in the East Division standings.
The Lumberjacks (18-21-2-1) do, however, have three games in hand on the Rock (17-23-2-3).
Rock coach Corey Beer was pleased to see his team pick up its fifth point out of a possible six in the past three games.
“To take five of a possible six points off a tough K.L. team in back-to-back games and the top team in the league in the Powassan Voodoos, we will take that every time,” he said.
“I loved the way our guys competed all night. A couple of goals squeaked through us, it happens. They have a potent offence. They have 133 more goals than we do this season.
“Our attention to detail on the game plan tonight was very sharp.”
Decked out in their new Timmins Golden Bears third jerseys Saturday night, the Rock dominated the opening 20 minutes of play — outshooting the visitors 15-2 during that span.
Picard’s 12th goal of the season staked the Rock to a 1-0 lead at the 7:31 mark of the frame.
The Voodoos got back on even terms eight-and-a-half minutes later when defenceman Eric Mondeau netted a power-play marker, his eighth goal of the season.
The Rock were able to regain the lead before the end of the frame, however, when defenceman Grant McClellan ripped a shot past Voodoos goalie Julian Galloway, with the home side enjoying a five-on-three advantage.
It was his second goal of the season.
Less than a minute later and with just seven seconds remaining on the clock, Picard netted his second of the night and 13th of the season, with the Rock still on the power play.
The Voodoos netted the second period’s lone goal, when defenceman Payton Vescio scored a power-play marker, his third tally of the season.
It looked like the Rock might be able to eke out a one goal victory, but Voodoos forward Tyson Gilmour beat Rock goalie Eric Jackson for the game-tying goal with 3:17 remaining in regulation.
Neither side was able to find the back of the net during the first four-on-four overtime session, nor the second three-on-three frame, leaving the contest tied at 3-3.
Clearly, the Rock were a lot sharper and more focused than they were the last time the Voodoos visited the McIntyre Arena, back on Jan. 21, when they twice blew four-goal leads before dropping a 6-5 overtime decision.
“I love our bench right now,” Beer said.
“They guys are not letting stuff phase them. If we allow a couple of goals, it is an automatic kick back. We want to play better hockey. If we score a couple of goals, it’s hey, let’s not get too high. We have a very mature group on our hands.”
Beer acknowledged there probably are not too many players in the NOJHL who are hotter than Picard is right now, after the Timmins native recorded his second-straight two-goal game.
“Jordan is playing the best hockey I have seen him play,” he said.
“And it’s not just the offensive stuff, it’s his attention to detail away from the puck. He has become a tremendous forechecker.
“When you are a guy who is smaller, you have to be smarter than the opposition when you forecheck. He does a great job of getting inside and establishing body position and he uses his stick very creatively.
“He is playing unbelievable hockey and it is paying off huge for us.”
With a little bit more puck luck Saturday night, Picard might have had two or three more goals.
“That’s the story of our season,” Beer said.
Picard, of course, was not the only Rock player to impress his coach Saturday night.
“Grant McClellan does everything for us now,” Beer said.
“He has gained the confidence offensively that allows him to jump on the power play and contribute that way. He has a heck of shot to get the puck through on his goal tonight.
“He is also kind of helping a young Will Caston grow his game. I thought those two, as a pairing, were unbelievable. The two of them and Jared Hester were over 30 minutes tonight and it is impressive to have those kind of guys play that kind of hockey.
“C.J. Bradburn again played some tremendous hockey tonight. Derek Seguin played a great game again, which is great to see, and Tyler Gilberds, for three games in a row now, has really established himself as an offensive force.
“And what more can you say about Evan Kentish-Stack. He blocked five or six shots on his own tonight.”
To secure home ice for a potential first round series against the Lumberjacks, the Rock will have to continue their strong play in the coming week when they take on the Gold Miners at home Tuesday, the Cochrane Crunch at home Thursday and then the Crunch in Cochrane on Saturday.
“I think it is going to be all about taking care of the small details,” Beer said.
“We are a very systematic team and our guys respond to video very well.”
Voodoos assistant coach Josh Dale was pleased to see his squad battle back to pick up a point in its third-game in three nights on the road.
“We got off to another slow start, which seems to be a habit, but we always battle back,” he said.
“We played a lot better in the second and third periods.”
Prior to the start of the game, a number of former Timmins Golden Bears players and staff were introduced and an official puck-dropping ceremony was held to commemorate the team’s third-jersey night, but Dale doesn’t figure that was a distraction.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said.
“As you are aware, we have had a lot of distractions with our own team lately, but the boys usually clear their heads and think about hockey.”
The distractions Dale was referring to include the suspension and then firing of head coach Beau Moyer and the subsequent resignation of assistant coach Cameron Ladoucer.
“We gave up two five-on-three goals tonight, so we need to focus on staying out of the penalty box,” Dale said.
The assistant coach agreed his goalie was the Voodoos best player Saturday night.
“Galloway has been solid since he joined us and (Christian) Cicigoi has been solid all year long,” Dale said.
“Our goaltending has been great.”
Despite the Voodoos success against the Rock this season, Dale feels they provide a unique match-up challenge.
“Timmins is a tough team to play against because they are a lot smaller than we are and they are fast,” he said.
“We have a hard time because we are a physical team and they seem to slip through us lots.”
Jackson stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced for the Rock, while Galloway turned aside 38 of the 41 shots the home side fired his way.
NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of Saturday night’s game were Picard, Galloway and McClellan … The Golden Bears jerseys the Rock wore during Saturday night’s contest are being auctioned off online. Visit the Rock website for more details … The Rock did not dress forwards Wayne Mathieu (lower-body injury), Stewart Parnell (upper-body injury), Riley Robitaille (serving the fifth game of a five-game suspension) and Wesley Weir (serving a one-game suspension) … The Rock went 2-4 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 2-8 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 1,068 … Saturday night’s other action saw the Cochrane Crunch edge the Gold Miners 4-3 in Kirkland Lake, the Soo Thunderbirds dump the Express 7-1 in Espanola and the Beavers top the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 4-3 in double overtime … The Rock will return to auction on Tuesday when they host the Lumberjacks at the McIntyre Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.