Timmins Rock forward Harry Clark reaches in to knock the puck off the stick of Rayside-Balfour Canadians captain Brady Maltais during Thursday night’s NOJHL game at the Chelmsford Arena. The Canadians scored three goals in a span of 21 seconds in the third period to register a 7-4 victory — their first of the season. BEN LEESON/POSTMEDIA NETWORK
SUDBURY — The Timmins Rock surrendered three goals in the span of 21 seconds in the third period en route to a 7-4 loss at the hands of the Rayside-Balfour Canadians at the Chelmsford Arena Thursday night.
And clearly Rock coach Corey Beer was not pleased with the effort put forth by his squad in the process.
“It was one of the laziest hockey games and the laziest hockey teams I have seen in my time in Timmins,” he said.
“It was absolutely horrendous. We fell asleep on all of their goals, all of their goals.
“And we always stress goal for, goal against, the next face-off is the most important one.
“Obviously, not for the gentlemen who jumped on the ice tonight. We did nothing all night to support our 17-year-old goaltender (Gavin McCarthy).
“It was a flat-out disgusting performance from us.
“After each goal a new line (and defence pair) came out, no urgency, puck in the back of the net. Didn’t even register for them.”
The Rock had trailed the contest 4-3 heading into the third period, but blue-liner Zachary Fortin notched his first goal of the season at the 4:40 mark to deadlock the contest.
Any hopes the Rock had of recording a fifth-straight win over the Canadians to start the NOJHL campaign were quickly quashed just past the midway point of the frame, however.
Mitchell Martin scored his second goal of the night and the season at the 11:46 mark to put the Canadians in front by a goal.
Then, just 10 seconds later Oliver Smith netted his second goal of the night and third of the season to put Rayside-Balfour in front by a pair of goals.
Not pleased with what he had seen during that 10-second span, Beer called a timeout — “not to read his Rock players the riot act but rather to try and settle them down.
“It was a little bit of calmness from my end,” he said.
“Let’s find a way to claw back in. It had been a back-and-fourth game, not our best game, but they go up by two and if we can get one quick we would be right back in this thing, give us a chance to tie it late.”
Given that Canadians sniper Nicholas DeGrazia struck for his second goal of the season 11 seconds later, it likely didn’t matter what words of wisdom Beer and his assistants attempted to pass on to their squad.
Clearly they were not listening.
“The next five guys went out on the ice and their give-a-you-know-what meter was less than zero,” Beer said.
“Our defencemen were a parting of the seas in terms of letting them through.
“Like I said, that is the worst loss I have been a part of since I have been here. We have had way less teams that competed way harder than this flat-out embarrassing effort.”
With no more timeouts to use at that point, the Rock coach opted to pull McCarthy in favour of Tyler Masternak.
Masternak shut the door the rest of the way, but it did not matter since his teammates were unable to cut into the Canadians’ advantage.
Rayside-Balfour Canadians forward Giordano Biondi cycles the puck behind the Rock net before Timmins blue-liner Bode Dunford can catch up with him. Biondi, playing his first game since returning to the Canadians lineup, did not have any points but it did not matter as Rayside-Balfour went on to post a 7-4 victory. BEN LEESON/POSTMEDIA NETWORK
The Rock were flat coming out of the gate Thursday night and the Canadians took advantage, building up a 2-0 advantage on goals by Martin and Owen Perala, his second of the season.
A pair of goals scored two minutes apart — off the sticks of captain Derek Seguin, his fourth, and Josh Dickson, his third — allowed the Rock to tie things up prior to the end of opening frame, however.
Then, Cameron Kosurko beat Canadians goalie David Bowen for his first goal of the season just 45 seconds into the middle frame to give the Rock their lone lead of the contest, 3-2.
The advantage didn’t last long, though, as Jaxon Bedard’s first NOJHL goal got the Canadians back on even terms at the 8:43 mark of the second period.
Just past the midway point of the frame, Canadians captain Brady Maltais was sent off for tripping giving the Rock their third power play of the contest.
Instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, however, the Rock surrendered their third shorthanded goal in five games to the Canadians, with Smith cashing in on the advantage to net his first of two goals on the night and second of the season.
As one might expect, Beer was no more happy with that development than he was with the three spot the Rock allowed in 21 seconds in the following period.
“You will be shocked to hear it was a lack of effort again,” he said.
“Pick-pocketed, a guy standing around … we have some guys who think they deserve to be on the power play and unfortunately power plays are in the business of scoring goals, not giving them up.
“So, we will be changing that. There will be guys coming off that power play unit of maybe we will just keep PP1 out there for two minutes. That might be the better option.
“Obviously, we don’t have the trust built through the lineup for guys to do their job properly.
“I can’t remember giving up three goals shorthanded in a 20-game stretch, let alone through five games.”
Indeed, the Rock surrendered just five shorthanded goals in during 2019-20’s 56-game NOJHL campaign.
“We had a lot better puck management and a lot better give-a-you-know-what meter last year,” Beer said.
“Right now, this is a group of entitled young men who were 4-0-0 and they showed tonight how lazy they can be out there.”
As unhappy as Beer was with his team’s performance, he acknowledged the Canadians deserved full credit for their victory — their first over the Rock in eight games, dating back to the start of the 2019-20 campaign.
“Their guys outworked us everywhere,” he said.
“You look at their top-end guys. I loved the games of high-end guys, Martin, Smith and DeGrazia and they got (Giordano) Biondi back in the lineup.
“I loved the compete from their young guys, as well, the (Mackenzie) Sedgwick kid, (Samuel) Assinewai and on the backend the (Carter) Geoffroy kid.
“These guys came to play tonight. They were down 0-3-1 in the season series and they were playing as if everything was going their way.
“They beat us to every single loose puck tonight. It was impressive.
“Looking at the film, there is some stuff we are going to have to steal from their game plan and it all starts with the work ethic.”
Surely there had to be some positives from a Rock perspective in the contest.
“I hate to be doom-and-gloom, but not tonight,” Beer said.
“Our defencemen were slow to break out, slow to transition, kept pinching when it was stressed not to pinch.
“Our forwards didn’t get in any shooting lanes. It was flamingo legs and shots getting through all night. Our centres weren’t low in support.
“Like I said, this is one for the record books for me. This is laziest performance I have ever seen from our squad.”
The coach will be looking for a big rebound game from the Rock when they close out their six-game set with the Canadians at the McIntyre Arena Saturday night.
“Game 2 (a 2-1 Rock shootout victory) down here last week was also not a great performance for us overall, very lazy,” Beer said.
“We curtailed that with some workmanlike efforts on home ice, so there is the recipe there for us to draw from, but that’s up to them.
“We made a couple of adjustments and game-plan wise there were a couple of things we focused in on tonight and we scored goals off those plays.
“We put these gentlemen in the right spots. It was a lack of compete.”
David Bown turned aside 36 of the 40 shots the Rock directed at him to pick up his first win of the season for the Canadians.
McCarty, who blocked 21 of the 28 shots he faced, was tagged with the loss for the Rock. Masternak did not face any shots in his 7:53 of third-period relief.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Smith, Bedard and Geoffroy … The Rock did not dress forward Tyler Patterson, or blue-liners Lucas Branch and Felix Cadieux-Fredette … The Rock went 0-6 on the power play and surrendered a shorthanded goal, while the Canadians were 1-3 with the man advantage … Prior to the contest, the Canadians made a deal, sending blue-liner Dylan Bertrand to the Thunder Bay North Stars, of the SIJHL. Earlier in the week, the North Stars picked up former Timmins Rock blue-liner Tarcisius Tibishkogijig from the Blind River Beavers.