Romaniuk nets pair of goals to help Rock knock off Rapids

Timmins Rock forwards Hayden Rynard (foreground) and Nolan Ring apply the forecheck during Saturday night’s NOJHL game against the French River Rapids at the Noelville Arena. Rynard scored his ninth goal of the season to help lead the Rock to a 5-2 win over the Rapids. It was the fifth-straight victory for the East Division-leading Rock. CASSY SEGUIN/NOJHL NETWORK jpg, TD, apsmc

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

FRENCH RIVER — Brant Romaniuk scored a pair of goals to help lift the Timmins Rock to a 5-2 win over the Rapids at the Noelville Arena Saturday night.

It was the second win of the weekend for the Rock who came from behind to edge the Storm 6-5 in a shootout in Iroquois Falls Friday night and the NOJHL East Division-leading squad’s fifth-straight victory.

“It wasn’t our cleanest game and it wasn’t our worst game, somewhere in between,” said Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry, describing Saturday night’s victory.

“We had no players on the bench Friday night. We started the game shorthanded. When the game started, (Rock leading goal scorer Mason) Svarich couldn’t go, so immediately we were down one.

“We had five D in the lineup and one of them was affiliate player (Nolan Chabot, up from Okanagan Hockey Ontario) and another was a player (Chase Longhurst-McIntyre) who just got his cast off the day before.

“So, there were three guys back there really and then we lost (Liam) Wells to a fight, we lost (Jaden) Lyons to a fight. Other guys were in the (penalty) box all game. We just had nobody on the bench. So, naturally guys were exhausted come overtime.

“Then, we had a long day of travel today. We had the same five D, but all four lines in today up front, got off to a good start and cruised through the game.”

While Wells has been none to drop his gloves from time to time, the Rock coach admitted Lyons wouldn’t have been a player he would have predicted would have been involved in a fight.

“He was just sticking up for himself, which was nice to see,” Perry said.

“Their guy took a run at him in the middle of the ice. He didn’t like it but I don’t think he intended to get a fighting major.

The Rock jumped out to a 3-0 lead during Saturday night’s contest and never looked back.

Hayden Rynard got the Rock on the scoreboard 44 seconds into the opening period when he netted his ninth goal of the season.

Jack Anderson followed with his seventh goal of the campaign two minutes later.

And Wells added a power-play marker, his 23rd goal of the season, at the 15-minute mark.

The Rapids managed to erode the Rock’s three-goal advantage early in the middle frame, with Cameron Jansa scoring a power-play marker, his first of two tallies in the game and ninth of the campaign.

It took Romaniuk just 24 seconds to get that one back, however, as he netted the first of his two markers and 11th of the season to make it a 4-1 hockey game.

Romaniuk then added a power-play marker, his second goal of the night and 12th of the season.

Jansa’s second goal of the night and 10th of the season cut the Rock lead to 5-2 before the second intermission.

That would be as close as they would come to getting back on even terms, however, as neither team was able to add to its totals during the third period.

The Rock coach liked most of what he saw from his squad Saturday night, including the strong play of his 16-year-old forward.

“Brant played a good one tonight and found the back of the net (twice),” Perry said.

“He had a ton of chances and almost got a third one. He was real solid.”

And Romaniuk wasn’t the only Rock player who earned a little extra praise following the contest.

“Wells consistently scores and contributes all over the ice, with hits or just energy, does a great job down low on the power play, always keeping plays alive for the guys,” Perry said.

“He is a strong kid and he has a real nice touch around the net. He has been great all season.

“Ryno (Rynard) has been so great all season, the whole line of (Lucas) Lowe, him and (Thomas) Beard has been so good the last month and a half.

“Ando (Anderson) got one tonight and he was really good. He was really good Friday night, as well.

“All around, I thought everybody was good tonight. We got contributions from everybody, so it was nice.”

Chabot, who made his NOJHL debut during Friday night’s contest, got more ice time during Saturday night’s victory.

“He looked really good tonight,” Perry said.

“Friday night was just a weird game, with all the special teams, so it was harder to get him out there. He doesn’t quite know our systems, but he is a good young defenceman.”

With Saturday’s victory, the Rock (29-11-2-0) now have a 10-point lead over the Powassan Voodoos (24-15-0-2) and an 11-point advantage on the Hearst Lumberjacks (22-12-3-2) in the battle for top spot in the East Division standings.

Rock goalie Dryden Riley stopped 44 of the 46 shots he faced to earn his 16th win of the season.

Brady Dyer, who started in net for the Rapids and turned aside nine of the 12 shots the Rock directed his way during the first period, was tagged with the loss. Elijah Grant blocked 32 of the 34 shots he faced during his two periods of relief.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of Saturday’s game were Romaniuk, Jansa and Wells … The Rock went 2-5 on the power play Saturday night, while the Rapids were 1-3 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Noelville Arena Saturday night was 100 … Saturday’s other action saw the Greater Sudbury Cups top the Voodoos 5-3 in Powassan, the Lumberjacks hold off the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 7-4 in Hearst and the Blind River Beavers triple the Elliot Lake Vikings 6-2 in Massey … The Rock will return to action on Friday when they host the Hearst Lumberjacks at the McIntyre Arena, at 7:30 p.m.