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Rock blank Gold Miners 5-0

Photos – Allyson Demers

Daniel Beaupre scored the first two goals of his NOJHL career to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 5-0 victory over the Gold Miners at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Thursday night.

Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network
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The victory allowed the Rock (13-2-1-0) to pull within two points of the Powassan Voodoos (13-2-2-1) atop the NOJHL’s East Division and overall standings.

And the Rock, who will travel to Cochrane for a game against the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre on Friday, at 8 p.m., still have two games in hand on the Voodoos.

The Rock were without the services of forward Nicolas Pigeon (serving the second game of a four-game suspension he picked up after being assessed a five-minute major for kneeing during an 8-2 win over the Crunch on Nov. 5) and blue-liner Bode Dunford (serving the first game of a two-game suspension he picked up for disrespectful, abusive and harassing behavior at the end of a 4-2 loss to the Rapids in French River on Nov. 6), as well as coach and general manager Brandon Perry (serving the first game of a two-game suspension he received for leaving the bench without clearance from the referee at the end of the Nov. 6 contest).

Assistant coach James Daschuk felt Thursday night’s victory over the Gold Miners might have been the Rock’s most dominant game of the season, from start to finish.

“Coming off our loss in French River on Saturday, we kind of had a bad taste in our mouths,” he said.

“People were question whether we were that good (ranked No. 2 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League heading into that weekend and No. 5 after Saturday night’s 4-2 setback).

“So, obviously we had a bone to pick, a point to prove tonight. We had a little chip on our shoulder. It is not fun losing the way we did.

“I didn’t like our game last weekend, but we had great follow up here, great execution.”

Indeed, the Rock outshot the Gold Miners 14-4 in the first period to take command of the contest, even though they were only able to find the back of the net once.

Riley Brousseau got the Rock on the scoreboard with what would prove to be the game-winning goal just past the midway point in the frame.

The Rock took that 1-0 advantage into the dressing room for the first intermission and then added a pair of markers in the middle frame to increase their lead to 3-0, outshooting the Gold Miners 12-5 in the process.

Tyler Patterson netted the first of those two second-period tallies, as he scored his third goal of the season with the Rock on the power play at the 11:38 mark.

Then, with just five seconds remaining in the frame, Beaupre netted the first of his two goals on the night and season.

The third period proved to be a little closer, at least in terms of shots (13-10 in favour of the visitors), but the Rock struck for two more goals to seal their victory.

Henry Brock added his third goal of the season just 54 seconds into the frame to increase the Rock advantage to four goals.

Beaupre then completed the scoring, as he notched a shorthanded goal to make the final score 5-0 in favour of the Rock.

The victory is even more impressive when you factor in the Rock accomplished it without two of their Top 4 scorers in Pigeon (14, 3-13-16, 17) and Dunford (15, 4-12-16, 10).

“Not only do those guys put up points, they both are assistant captains,” Daschuk said.

“So there was a lot of leadership gone and they both log a lot of minutes, power-play minutes, PK minutes, so we needed other guys to step up.

“Guys like Beaups (Beaupre) at up a lot of minutes tonight, so it was great to see.”

The assistant coach was certainly happy to see the North Vancouver native finally find the back of the net Thursday night.

“It was to the point where we were joking about it in practice,” Daschuk said.

“We kept telling him, ‘You are going to get one. You have got to get one.’

“He is a good kid and he has been keeping a positive attitude, never got discouraged.

“He has been great on the PK and for him to get a shorty tonight was awesome, too.”

A number of other Rock players impressed the assistant coach with their effort Thursday night, as well.

“In my opinion, it was (blue-liner) Riley Dubois’ best game of the season,” Daschuk said.

“He got a lot of minutes on the power play tonight and a lot of minutes on the PK.

“We only had five guys back there (one the blue-line) tonight with the Dunford suspension and Dubois was phenomenal, from start to finish.

The Rock didn’t find a lot of success on the power play Thursday night, but their other special teams unit certainly excelled.

“I thought our PK was great,” Daschuk said.

“Those guys don’t get a lot of credit, but they have been improving all year. Guys like Juice (Justin Charette) were fantastic. He gets reps on the PK every week.

“Freddie (Felix Cadieux-Fredette), on the back end, was great. He played a ton of minutes on the PK and he played a phenomenal game.

“Ringer (Nolan Ring), who is back from an injury, was his greasy self. You can’t catch him. He made a great play on Hank’s (Brock) goal. He did all the work and got the puck in deep.

“Mac (Dylan McElhinny) was awesome again. He has put together about four or five games in a row now where he is feeling comfortable, looking comfortable, using his big size and reach.

“He has silky smooth hands. No goals tonight, but he played a phenomenal game, laying the body.”

Daschuk was pleased, as well, to see goalie Gavin McCarthy record his first shutout of the season Thursday night.

“I think Gavin knew as the game went on what kind of night we were going to have,” he said.

“He has been in the league two years now and he knows what it takes to stay focused. He likes to play the puck a lot and that’s to his advantage as it keeps him moving back there and keeps his head in the game.

“He didn’t have to make a million saves, but he was certainly solid on the ones he did have to make.”

McCarthy stopped all 19 shots he faced to register his first shutout of the season and earn his 10th win of the campaign.

Gold Miners netminder Zachary Reddy, who turned aside 34 of the 39 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Beaupre, McCarthy and Brousseau … The Rock went 1-6 on the power play and added a shorthanded goal, while the Gold Miners went 0-5 with the man advantage … Rock forward Liam Wells and Gold Miners blue-liner Curtis Gervais were ejected from the contest midway through the second period after they each received five-minute majors for fighting and game misconducts. Wells was also assessed a two-minute minor for instigating … Official attendance at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex Thursday night was 200 … Thursday’s only other contest saw the Cubs rally for a 6-4 victory over the Elliot Lake Red Wings in Greater Sudbury … The Rock will travel to Cochrane to take on the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre Friday night. The next home game will be on Sunday, Nov. 21, when they host the Gold Miners at the McIntyre Arena, at 3 p.m.