VIDEO / GALLERY: Svarich’s OT winner helps Rock sweep aside Storm

Photos: Turnbull’s Northern Photography

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

IROQUOIS FALLS — Mason Svarich’s second goal of the game, 5:15 into overtime, lifted the Timmins Rock to a 3-2 win over the Storm at the Jus Jordan Arena Thursday night.

It gave the Rock a 4-0 sweep of their best-of-seven NOJHL East Division semifinal series and ended the season for the Storm.

But the Storm did not go quietly into the night, as they twice held leads in the contest and played like their backs were to the wall.

Following Game 3 of the series Tuesday night in Iroquois Falls, Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry acknowledged the fourth win in any best-of-seven series is always the toughest to secure and Thursday’s contest certainly proved that point.

“They played desperate hockey tonight and gave us all we could handle, but we were really lazy tonight,” he said.

“It was just one of those nights. We weren’t great, but you have to give credit to them. They played really hard. We are happy to get the win, obviously, and we are ready to move on to the next one (series).”

Timmins product Patrice Lafontaine’s power-play marker, his second goal of the playoffs, gave the Storm a 1-0 lead just past the midway point of the opening period.

They held that advantage until the middle of the second period, when Svarich’s first of two goals on the night and second of the playoffs tied things up at 2-2.

Andrew Scott’s first goal of the playoffs, 2:39 into the third period, put the Storm back in front 2-1.

That lead held up until Kaeden McArthur scored his second goal of the playoffs, with 5:15 remaining in regulation, to once again deadlock the score, at 2-2.

That set the stage for Svarich’s game-winning heroics, 5:15 into the first sudden-death overtime period.

His second goal of the night and third tally of the playoffs, an unassisted marker, allowed the Rock to complete the four-game sweep of the Storm.

Perry was pleased to see his squad complete the sweep Thursday night, ensuring his injured players will have a little more time to heal before they begin the East Division final against either the Powassan Voodoos or the Hearst Lumberjacks.

“Any rest for us, at this point, is really good, we will certainly take it,” he said.

After losing forward Jaden Lyons (lower-body injury) in Game 1 and forward Liam Wells (upper-body injury) in Game 2, the Rock had a pair of blue-liners leave Thursday night’s contest before its conclusion.

“(Chase) Longhurst-McIntyre and (Sam) Gallagher both went down with upper-body injuries,” Perry said.

The early prognoses suggests Longhurst-McIntyre’s status is week-to-week, while Gallagher is day-to-day.

Svarich scored 40 goals during the regular season for the Rock and his production hasn’t slowed during the first four games of the playoffs.

“He is a goal scorer and he got a couple of goals for us tonight, so that was good,” Perry said.

Goalie Patrick Boivin, who led the Rock to an NOJHL championship and berth in the Centennial Cup tournament last season, was once again in fine form Thursday night.

“Patty was great for us tonight,” Perry said. “He made a save for us at the beginning of the second period that honestly is probably the reason we won tonight. It was an incredible save and he was sharp all night.”

The coach agreed the bigger the game, the brighter Boivin tends to shine.

“He loves the spotlight and he is a competitive guy, he likes those moments,” Perry said.

McArthur also chose an opportune time to make an impact on the contest.

“He would probably admit he didn’t have his best game tonight, but he came up big when we needed him the most,” Perry said.

“I was super happy to see that one go in.”

While Felix Cadieux-Fredette’s name didn’t appear on the scoresheet Thursday night, the Rock captain once again logged some big minutes on the team’s blue-line.

“All year, it has been something else to watch him play all season,” Perry said.

“With all the injuries we have had back there, he always seems to get the job done for us.

“Nolan Ring really competed out there for us, as well.”

The coach doesn’t have any preferences as to whether the Rock will face the Powassan Voodoos or the Hearst Lumberjacks in the East Division final.

“We will see what happens and we will be ready for whoever it is,” Perry said.

“Obviously, we are going to watch them and pay close attention (to the remaining games in their series). We played Hearst a bunch of times this season and Powassan four times, so we kind of know, going in, right off the bat, what they are all about.

“In a series like that, there are going to be adjustments after every game. Both teams are well coached and they compete extremely hard.”

Boivin stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced to earn his second win of the playoffs.

Storm goalie Connor Hatfield, who turned aside 52 of the 55 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Svarich, Hatfield and Boivin … The Rock went 0-3 on the power play, while the Storm were 1-3 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Jus Jordan Arena was 765 … Thursday’s other action saw the Beavers top the Espanola Paper Kings 6-1 in Blind River in Game 5 of that West Division semifinal, although the Paper Kings still lead the series 3-2; and the Cubs blank the Soo Thunderbirds 4-0 in Greater Sudbury, to take a 3-2 lead in the other West Division semifinal series … The Rock will now take on the winner of the other East Division semifinal series, which currently has the Powassan Voodoos leading that best-of-seven series 3-1.

“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel