VIDEO / GALLERY: Svarich nets two more goals to help Rock hold off Eagles

Timmins Rock forward Mason Svarich deflects a shot just wide of the goalpost to the left of Soo Eagles netminder Marino Ramirez as teammate Luke Russell looks on during the first period of Sunday afternoon’s NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena. Svarich scored a pair of goals to help lead the Rock to a 4-3 win over the Eagles — their third-straight triumph. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS jpg, TD, apsmc

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

Mason Svarich continued his Auston Matthews-like start to his Timmins Rock career on Sunday as he netted two more goals to help lead the home side to a 4-3 victory over the Soo Eagles at the McIntyre Arena.

The Stony Plain, Alta., product, who produced a hat-trick in his Rock debut Friday night, a 6-2 win over the Blind River Beavers, now has five goals in his first two games back in the NOJHL.

Sunday’s triumph was the third-straight victory for the Rock, who improved to 6-6-1-0 on the season — good for a tie with the Hearst Lumberjacks for second place in the East Division standings.

Even though the Rock collected the two points Sunday afternoon, coach and general manager Brandon Perry was not as happy with what he saw on the ice as he had been Friday night.

“I was not happy with our effort today, but I was super happy with Friday’s performance,” he said.

“I just thought our urgency was there Friday night, but I didn’t think we had a lot of urgency today.

“It just felt like we were here, playing a game. We didn’t have that will and compete we did Friday night, but obviously it was two big points for us.

“After the start (to the season) we had, hopefully we can keep rolling here.”

When Perry swung the deal to acquire Svarich from the AJHL’s Camrose Kodiaks in exchange for a player development fee on Oct. 8, he indicated he hoped the move would provide some “depth scoring,” but he admitted Sunday he wasn’t expecting anything like he has seen to this point.

“Mason has been a welcome addition, for sure,” he said.

“Obviously, we weren’t expecting this much production this fast, but we will take it.

“He is going to be great in our locker room and great for our young guys.”

Following a scoreless opening period, Svarich’s first of two goals on the afternoon and fourth on the season staked the Rock to a 1-0 lead 30 seconds into the middle frame.

Liam Wells then added a power-play marker, his team-leading 12th goal of the season, one second shy of the midway point in the period.

The Eagles got that one back three-and-a-half minutes later, as Zach Sweitzer scored his first goal of the season.

Svarich then kicked off an offensive outburst in the final two minutes of the frame when he notched a power-play marker, his second goal of the afternoon and fifth tally of the season at the 18:26 mark to put the Rock in front 3-1.

Kenny Belanger Jr. replied with his eighth goal of the season for the Eagles with 27 seconds remaining in the period.

But the Rock restored their two-goal advantage before the intermission when Kaeden McArthur found the back of the net for his seventh tally of the campaign 10 seconds later.

That marker would stand up to be the game-winning goal.

The Eagles were able to cut their deficit to a single goal, thanks to a Gabriel Fisher power-play marker, his first tally of the season, 12:24 into the third period but that would be as close as they would come to getting back on even terms.

They pulled goalie Marino Ramirez with a minute and a half remaining in regulation but the Rock were able to hold onto their one-goal advantage.

Given that Dryden Riley had been in net for the past two Rock victories, many fans had been expecting to see the 16 year old between the posts Sunday afternoon, but the coach opted to go with Patrick Boivin in net.

“Patty has had his struggles this year and he will be the first one to admit that,” Perry said.

“Dryden Riley has been great, but we can’t forget what Patty has done for us.

“It was just a matter of him finding it again and he was really sharp this afternoon. I was happy to see him get a win under his belt.”

The list of Rock players not named Svarich or Boivin who impressed their coach Sunday afternoon was a short one.

“I thought Harry Clark was good, he has a great motor and always seems to be producing for us,” Perry said.

“Felix Cadieux-Fredette was really good, especially eating that puck in the last 10 seconds there, keeping it against the wall, not giving them a chance at it.

“We had a lot of guys this afternoon who were just okay, a lot of guys who didn’t want the puck on their stick, but we will take the two points and move on from here.”

Boivin was just happy to help backstop the Rock to their third-consecutive victory Sunday afternoon.

“It felt good, for sure, to help us get our second win on the weekend,” he said.

“That’s what we strive for. We have three big games next week (Thursday, Friday and Sunday) and we want to do the same thing.”

After sporting a 1.98 goals against average and .920 save percentage last season, Boivin has struggled to find his game early on in 2023-24 but Sunday’s victory could be a sign he is back on track.

“It is just the little things, getting back to basics,” he said, when asked what he has been focusing on to regain his groove.

“Tracking the puck all the way in helped out for sure this afternoon and it feels good to be back.”

The goalie is hoping to see the Rock build upon their current three-game winning streak.

“Sparks (Svarich) has been great for us, with five goals already,” Boivin said.

“He is a huge part of our lineup now and all our guys were rolling all weekend.”

Like most goalies, Boivin was quick to credit the teammates playing in front of him for his success Sunday afternoon.

“The boys were great, boxing out in front of me, hitting and blocking shots,” he said.

“They were there for me and I was glad I could be there for them today.”

Boivin stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced to earn his third win of the season.

Ramirez, who turned aside 26 of the 30 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game Sunday afternoon were Svarich, Boivin and Paweski (two assists) … The Rock went 2-4 on the power play Sunday afternoon, while the Eagles were 1-5 … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena on Sunday was 860 … Sunday’s other action saw the Blind River Beavers top the Storm 6-1 in Iroquois Falls, the Greater Sudbury Cubs double up the Gold Miners 4-2 in Kirkland Lake and the Soo Thunderbirds dump the Rapids 5-2 in French River … The Rock will travel to Hearst for a game against the Lumberjacks at the Claude Larose Recreation Centre on Thursday before returning home to host the Powassan Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena on Friday, at 7:30 p.m.

“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel