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VIDEO / GALLERY: Rock hang on to edge Beavers

Timmins Rock forward Nicholas Frederick deflects a shot past Blind River Beavers goalie Patrick Boivin and into the net for his ninth goal of the season during the second period of Sunday’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. The marker would stand up to be the game-winning goal as the Rock went on to edge the Beavers 3-2. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Henry Brock scored a pair of goals to help lead the Timmins Rock to a 3-2 win over the Blind River Beavers at the McIntyre Arena Sunday afternoon.

Game Photos:
Thomas Perry – 
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

The victory gave the Rock five of a possible six points from their three-game weekend home stand against West Division opponents, that saw them drop a 4-3 overtime decision to the Soo Thunderbirds Saturday night after derailing the Espanola Express 7-2 Friday night.

It also allowed the Rock (30-7-4-1) to pull into sole possession of second place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings one point behind the Voodoos (30-10-5-1) and they have four games in hand on Powassan.

While Rock assistant coach James Daschuk was happy to see his squad secure five points on the weekend, he felt they should have been able to secure the sixth, as well.

“That one (lost point) last night was pretty sour,” he said.

“It was just too bad because Blind River did us a favour last night (beating the Lumberjacks 2-0 in Hearst) and we couldn’t capitalize with the two points.

“We just hope that doesn’t come back to bite us when the season ends.

“For now, we are sitting okay but obviously things change day to day in this league with us, Powassan and Hearst. We are pretty tight.”

After beating the Beavers 10-0 in Blind River back on March 4, Daschuk knew his squad was going to be in for a battle Sunday afternoon.

“Give them a lot of credit, they had a tough game in Hearst last night, as well,” he said.

“That’s not an easy place to play and it’s not easy to play in this building, either.

“They play solid, they play tough and they finish their checks. They make life extremely difficult.”

Sunday afternoon’s contest, played in front of the largest NOJHL crowd this season (1,087 fans), saw the Rock open up a 2-0 lead.

Brock opened the scoring when he found the back of the net for his 12th goal of the season at the 12:36 mark of the opening period.

He then added his 13th goal of the campaign just over four minutes later.

The Beavers got on the scoreboard 1:06 into the middle frame when Jacob Kovacs netted a power-play marker, his fifth goal of the season.

Just over six minutes later, Nicholas Frederick scored his ninth goal of the season to put the Rock in front 3-1.

That’s the way the score remained until Kovacs added his second power-play marker of the night and sixth goal of the season seven-and-a-half minutes into the third period.

With hopes of at least being able to salvage a single point, the Beavers continued to press the attack but they were unable to come up with the equalizer, leaving the final score 3-2 in favour of the Rock.

Daschuk was impressed with what he saw from Brock in Sunday afternoon’s contest.

“I spoke with Hank a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

“In the last month, he has basically played on all four lines, played with Pige (Nicolas Pigeon) and Schwinny (captain Tyler Schwindt), played on our second and third lines and the fourth and that’s not a knock, at all.

“It is a credit to how many different roles he can play. He has been putting up points the last couple of games and I am very happy for him.

“He is a great kid, with a great attitude and he plays the game the right way, every shift is hard.”

Riley Brousseau, who assisted on all three Rock goals, also caught the assistant coach’s eye.

“He has been doing things the right way all season,” Daschuk said.

“He has got the size, he has got the speed, he has got the strength.

“At the start of the year, we didn’t know what to expect from him, after being off for a year, but he has definitely been putting up points.”

A number of other Rock players impressed Daschuk Sunday afternoon, as well.

“I think our back end was pretty good, for the most part,” he said.

“We had Ricky (Eric Moreau) and Freddie (Felix Cadieux-Fredette) playing together, kind of a shutdown pair. They get no easy minutes.

“They play against the top pairing every single game, no power-play time, all penalty kill, blocking shots.

“They don’t get noticed a lot by the fans, but they are certainly noticed and appreciated by the guys in our dressing room.

“Christopher Engelbert has been played lights out. It is no coincidence our four-game losing streak occurred during the four games he was suspended.

“He has been playing with Frederick the last couple of games and they have been fantastic together.”

The Rock lost Pigeon partway through the first period to an upper-body injury, but Daschuk is hopefully it is nothing serious.

“He plays a tough game and he seems to be the one who is getting hacked all the time,” he said.

Despite the loss, Beavers coach and general manager Kyle Brick was pleased with the effort he saw from his squad Sunday afternoon.

“I thought the boys competed,” he said.

“It would have been kind of easy to fold the tent there when we were down 2-0, but I thought we rode the wave of emotion and we were able to make it close at the end.”

Given the outcome of their last meeting with the Rock, Brick felt it was important for the Beavers to prove they are capable of beating the top teams in the NOJHL.

“It wasn’t a great result and that kind of fueled the effort today,” he said.

“Coming off a big win in Hearst Saturday night, I felt we were able to bring that game again today but things just didn’t go our way.”

The coach was pleased with what he saw from Kovacs Sunday afternoon and not just because he netted both Blind River goals.

“He is our engine and when he goes, our team goes,” Brick said.

“I am not making any excuses for our past result, but he wasn’t in that game when they shellacked us at home.

“Jacob has been great for us since we acquired him from Trenton. He is going to be bid for us down the stretch and into the playoffs.”

Another CJHL trade deadline acquisition, goalie Patrick Boivin was solid between the pipes on Sunday.

“Patty was great,” Brick said.

“He is actually a Blind River boy, so we were happy to get him, not only because he is local but because he is a phenomenal goalie.”

Rock goalie Gavin McCarthy turned aside 30 of the 32 shots he faced to earn his NOJHL-leading 21st win of the season.

Boivin, who blocked 29 of the 32 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of Sunday’s contest were Brock (two goals), Kovacs (two goals) and Riley Brousseau (three assists) … Veteran referee Brenden Bujold, who is moving to Ottawa, worked his final NOJHL contest Sunday afternoon … The Rock went 0-6 on the power play, while the Beavers were 2-4 with the man advantage … Sunday’s other action saw the Powassan Voodoos knock off the Gold Miners 9-4 in Kirkland Lake, the Soo Eagles dump the Rapids 6-4 in French River and the Elliot Lake Red Wings edge the Express 4-3 in Espanola … The Rock will return to action on Thursday when they take on the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre in Cochrane, at 1:30 p.m. The next home game will be on Thursday, March 24, when the Rock host the Elliot Lake Red Wings at the McIntyre Arena, at 7 p.m.

 “Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel