GALLERY: Seguin, Schwindt help Rock trick Crunch

Timmins Rock forward Nicolas Pigeon pounces on a juicy rebound in front of Crunch goalie Liam McCarthy as Cochrane defenders Liam Boswell, left, and Travis Szafron look on during the second period of Tuesday night’s NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena. Pigeon scored on the play to give the Rock a 3-1 lead in a game they would go on to win 9-1. The two sides will meet again at the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane on Friday, at 8 p.m. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Hat-tricks off the sticks of Captain Derek Seguin and Tyler Schwindt helped propel the Timmins Rock to a 9-1 win over the Cochrane Crunch at the McIntyre Arena Tuesday night.

Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
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Hat-tricks off the sticks of Captain Derek Seguin and Tyler Schwindt helped propel the Timmins Rock to a 9-1 win over the Cochrane Crunch at the McIntyre Arena Tuesday night.

It was the third victory in four tries for the Rock against their NOJHL East Division rivals to start a 10-game set.

While the Rock were full credit for the victory, the outcome might have been far different if the visitors were able to capitalize on a golden opportunity to start the third period.

Heading into the final 20 minutes of play, Timmins enjoyed a 3-1 advantage, but with Harry Clark (hooking) and Zach Smith (unsportsmanlike conduct) in the penalty box to start the frame the Rock were forced to kill off a three-on-five shorthanded situation for a minute and 40 seconds.

The Rock coaching staff opted to go with two forwards (Seguin and Josh Dickson) and one blue-liner (Eric Moreau) to begin the penalty kill and the move paid dividends.

“Dicksy and Segsy are arguably our two best penalty killers,” said Rock assistant coach James Daschuk.

“They know the three-on-five better than anybody and Ricky (Moreau) is a guy we always use on the three-on-five, as well.

“We kind of chatted quickly about it after the second period and Dicksy came in and made a little bit of a joke, so we said let’s try it.

“We are all comfortable with it.

“Dicksy blocked a great shot, too, like we knew he would. Segs and Ricky are guys who always block shots, as well.

“It is one of those things you try and if you get scored on you re-evaluate afterwards.”

Crunch coach, general manager and owner Tom Nickolau agreed that five-on-three to start the third period was a turning point, transforming what had been a close hockey game into a blowout.

“It was very frustrating,” he said.

“We had a set play but it wasn’t executed. Then once the fourth and fifth goals went in things just started to snowball.”

Daschuk agreed patience was one of the keys to his team’s success Tuesday night.

“We had 23 shots after the first period and outshot them two to one, but their goalie (Liam McCarthy) made some big saves in the first period,” he said.

“We knew we just had to be patient because it had that vibe where if we could get one they were going to come in bunches. We just kept giving her and obviously we had a great outcome.”

Two-and-a-half minutes after getting back to even strength, the Rock struck for the first of their six third-period tallies, with Seguin netting his second goal of the night and 15th of the season to increase the home side’s advantage to 4-1.

Blue-liner Evan Beaudry’s second goal of the season then extended the Rock lead to four goals.

Three-and-a-half minutes later, Schwindt netted the first of his three goals and seventh of the season.

Less than a minute later, Seguin completed his hat-trick when he notched his NOJHL-leading 16th goal of the season.

Schwindt then added a pair of goals, his eighth and ninth of the season, 22 seconds apart to complete his hat-trick and make the final score 9-1 in favour of the Rock.

For the first time in four games it was the Rock who found the scoreboard first Tuesday night, with Tyler Patterson netting his first NOJHL goal at the 2:33 mark of the opening period.

It took less than a minute for the Crunch to get back on even terms, however, as Sebastien Ouimet found the back of the net for his ninth goal of the season.

The contest remained deadlocked heading into the first intermission, but the Rock picked up a pair of goals in the middle frame to take a 3-1 advantage.

Seguin’s 14th goal of the season proved to be the game-winner, while Nicolas Pigeon added his second goal of the campaign five-and-a-half minutes later.

Daschuk felt it was probably one of Seguin’s best games of the season.

“He had been a little bit snake-bitten recently, but it had not been for a lack of trying,” he said.

“The chances were definitely there, but they had been checking him pretty tightly, so obviously they are familiar with who he is, but tonight he kind of broke loose.

“Not even just the goals tonight, I thought his speed coming through the neutral zone, that whole line with him and Dicksy (Dickson) played great tonight.

“They came back hard and played great D in our own zone, as well.”

It wasn’t only the number of goals Seguin scored, but also their timeliness that impressed the assistant coach.

“That one where he put it top shelf in the second period was a great shot,” Daschuk said.

“That was when we really started to take control of the game. That line did a great job of setting the tone and then every line we put out there, it didn’t matter who it was, was kind of banging and crashing and just buzzing all over the place.”

The assistant coach was also impressed with Schwindt, Pigeon and Patterson up front.

“Schwinny is kind of that guy who is sneaky good,” Daschuk said.

“He has got great speed and he works so hard. He is big and so strong. It is just a matter of time before he was going to break loose.

“He had a very sneaky hat-trick tonight. You didn’t even notice him until he was busting up the wall.”

It wasn’t just the guys who found the back of the net who impressed Daschuk Tuesday night.

“Forgy (Landon Deforge) didn’t score tonight, but he had a couple of good chances,” he said.

“Clarkie (Clark), those guys were working their butts off and when those guys have fantastic games and they don’t put up any goals that’s really the key, right.

“We had four lines going and it was the closest thing we have given these guys to 60 minutes all series.”

The assistant coach was equally proud of his squad’s effort in the defensive zone.

“I think the thing we are most proud of is that while the clock says we gave up 21 shots our chart shows we only gave up four or five from in the house,” Daschuk said.

“Our D did a really good job tonight, offensively and defensively. Their activations were fantastic tonight, which is something we have been preaching.

“I thought Dunner (Bode Dunford) was really good although he didn’t get much credit on the scoreboard, Freddie (Felix Cadeau-Fredette), too, guys like that.

“They will block shots any time you ask them. They just played solid games all around and that is what we wanted from those guys tonight.”

Blue-liner Chase Longhurst, who got in one game in 2019-20 as an affiliate player, made his season debut Tuesday night, as well, and picked up his first NOJHL point, an assist.

“We have loved him since we first saw him at our Oshawa camp a couple of years ago,” Daschuk said.

“We think very highly of him, so it was easy to insert him into the lineup.”

Even though the Crunch escaped the first period tied 1-1 Tuesday night, their coach felt the stress of being hemmed in their own zone so much and being outshot 23-12 in the frame took a toll on his squad.

“Our guys got tired,” Nickolau said.

“The guys were exhausted, having to defend, defend, defend. In the second period, we did have a breakaway down 2-1 that (Ryan) Hunter missed that could have changed the game around, but once the game got to four or five it was tough.

“The guys worked hard but I felt sorry for our goaltender (McCarthy) in the third period.

“He did what he could, but they are just a great hockey club. Four games in five days, no excuses. The guys battled hard, but we just ran out of gas.”

With the teams being off until Friday, the Crunch will get an opportunity to regroup and prepare for the next contest.

“It is very simple, we are just going to rip up tonight’s gamesheet, as if this game never happened,” Nickolau said.

“We will work on the positives from the game we won (4-2 Sunday afternoon).

“We will look at some clips from there and get ready for a fresh start on our home ice Friday night.”

Rock goalie Tyler Masternak was steady in net, while turning aside 21 of the 22 shots he faced, to pick up his NOJHL-leading ninth win of the season.

Crunch goalie McCarthy, who blocked 55 of the 64 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Seguin, Schwindt and Pigeon … The Rock went 0-1 on the power play, while the Crunch were 0-4 with the man advantage … The Rock will travel to Cochrane on Friday for a game against the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre, at 8 p.m.