FRENCH RIVER — Captain Derek Seguin’s hat-trick helped the Timmins Rock stage a third-period comeback to earn a 5-4 win over the Rapids and gain two valuable points in the battle for top spot in the NOJHL’s East Division standings Saturday night at the Noelville Arena.
With the victory, the Rock (31-19-3-0) were able to gain sole possession of third place in the division — one point behind the second-place Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (30-16-3-3) and two points up on the fourth-place Cochrane Crunch (29-20-1-4).
While the Rock were rallying to knock off the sixth-place Rapids, the Hearst Lumberjacks (32-15-6-1) were solidifying their hold on top spot in the division by completing a sweep of their home-and-home series with the Crunch, doubling up their rivals 8-4 at the Tim Horton Event Centre.
Meanwhile, the Gold Miners were dropping a 2-1 overtime decision against the Eagles in Sault, Mich.
Saturday night’s contest at the Noelville Arena did not start out very well for the Rock, who dropped a 2-0 decision against the Voodoos in Powassan Friday night.
The Rapids jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead, thanks to a power-play marker off the stick of Will Frustagliio, his 19th goal of the season, and a shorthanded tally by Chad Lafortune, his third goal of the campaign.
Philippe Daoust’s 19th goal of the season at the 2:06 mark of the middle frame increased the Rapids’ lead to 3-0.
At that point, the Rock opted to pull starting goalie Tyler Masternak, with Jean-Marc Brisson coming on to finish up the contest.
The Rock finally got on the scoreboard just over five minutes later when blue-liner Owen Shier notched a power-play marker, his fifth goal of the season.
The Rapids were able to restore their three-goal advantage late in the frame, however, as Cameron Conover picked up his fifth goal of the campaign with just 1:27 remaining on the clock.
Seguin’s first of three goals on the night and 29th of the season, with the Rock on the power play and 22 seconds remaining on the frame cut the visitors’ deficit to 4-2 heading into the second intermission.
The third period was all Rock, with Seguin netting his second and third goals of the night and 30th and 31rst of the campaign 26 seconds apart early in the third period to tie things up at 4-4.
Less than three minutes later, Riley Brousseau netted what would prove to be the game-winning goal when he netted his 11th marker of the season to put the Rock in front 5-4.
Brisson, who stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced in his 37:54 of relief, earned his fifth win of the season and second in a Rock uniform.
Masternak, who was pulled after 22:06, blocked 15 of the 18 shots directed his way.
Rapids goalie Carson Murison, who turned aside 45 of the 50 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Seguin, Lafortune and Daoust … The Rock did not dress forwards Mahingan Decontie (undisclosed) and Benjamin Jossinet (undisclosed) … The Rock went 2-11 on the power play, while the Rapids were 1-3 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Noelville Arena was 320 … The Rock will close out their three-game road trip against the Rapids on Sunday, at 3 p.m.
Game Photos courtesy of Dal Photography