UPDATE / GALLERY: Svarich nets pair of goals, as Rock rally to top Voodoos

Timmins Rock forward Mason Svarich is wide open as he waits for a pass during Saturday night’s NOJHL contest at the Powassan Sportsplex. Svarich scored two goals, including the game-winner, to help the Rock overcome a second-period deficit and post a 5-3 victory over the Voodoos. With the win, the Rock now have a six-point lead on the Voodoos atop the East Division standings. NOJHL NETWORK jpg, TD, apsmc

Photos: voodooshockey.com

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

POWASSAN — Mason Svarich scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as the Timmins Rock grounded the Voodoos 5-3 at the Sportsplex Saturday night.

It was the culmination of a solid weekend for the Rock who knocked off the Iroquois Falls Storm 6-2 at the McIntyre Arena Friday night.

More importantly, the Rock’s (22-9-2-0) sixth-straight win increased their lead over the Voodoos (19-12-0-2) atop the NOJHL’s East Division standings to six points.

Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was pleased with the effort he saw from his squad during the third period of Saturday night’s contest.

“We had a little more urgency out of our group,” he said.

“Our first period wasn’t bad, the second period we fell asleep, but in the third period we played hard.”

Indeed, the Rock outshot the Voodoos 21-5 during the game’s final 20 minutes and more importantly outscored them 4-0.

The coach admitted he was a little surprised it took the Rock so long to kick things into high gear given they were playing the team they have been battling for top spot in the division.

“I was a little disappointed in our group and I let them know that (during the second intermission) and they responded well,” Perry said.

“It is just one of those things. You have got to know what is on the line here, in games like this. That’s how you win championships: Know the importance of the game, know the importance of the moment and do your best in those moments. In the third period, I thought we did a lot better job of that.”

The Rock’s sluggish second period had put them in a hole, but their strong finish managed to salvage the two points — without allowing the Voodoos to gain any.

Following a scoreless opening 20 minutes of action, the Rock got on the scoreboard first, courtesy of a Svarich power-play marker, his 22nd goal of the season, but the Voodoos scored three-straight goals to take a 3-1 lead.

Ryan Patrick’s power-play marker, his 11th goal of the season, tied things up.

Rhys Smetham’s 10th goal of the season, also a power-play tally, then gave the Voodoos the lead.

And Caden Dubreuil’s eighth goal of the season increased the advantage before the second intermission.

It took the Rock just 11 seconds to rev up their engines once the puck dropped to start the third period, as Harry Clark scored a power-play goal, his 18th tally of the campaign.

Liam Wells’ 18th goal of the season, also a power-play marker, then tied things up just shy of the five-minute mark.

Four minutes later, Svarich added his second goal of the game and 23rd of the season to put the Rock in front 4-3.

And the Rock iced the victory when Hayden Rynard deposited his third goal of the season into the empty Powassan net with Voodoos goalie Daniel Dirracolo on the bench in favour of an extra attacker.

The Rock’s leading goal scorers — Svarich, Clark and Wells — all came up big during Saturday night’s victory.

“I challenged those guys, too, before the third period,” Perry said.

“Didn’t like the way they had been playing, a little bit selfish, trying to stickhandle one-on-four, turning pucks over and I wasn’t too pleased with that, obviously, but they responded the right way. Even those guys sometimes need a kick in the butt.”

The coach was happy to see Rynard get rewarded with a goal for the second-straight game.

“He has been so great for us all season and he was great for us last season,” Perry said.

“He is a model of consistency and he is always in good spots, does things right.”

The coach was also pleased with what he saw from his entire D corps — Ethan Albert, Sam Gallagher, Kyle Trottier, Tenzin Nyman, Chase Longhurst-McIntyre and Felix Cadieux-Fredette — during Saturday night’s contest.

“They did a great job back there, facilitating the puck and making good decisions, all six of them,” Perry said.

“Lowesy Lucas Lowe), Ryno and (Thomas) Beard were fantastic

“Patty (goalie Patrick Boivin) would probably be the first to admit he didn’t like the first couple of goals that went in, but he made two huge saves in the third period, arguably won us the game.

“It was one of those games where the whole team was good for periods of time and all bad for periods of time.”

The coach was also pleased with the effort the Rock put forth Friday night against the Storm.

“It was solid, up and down our lineup, with contributions from everybody,” Perry said.

“I liked it, it was a solid 60 minutes and a good win for us.””

Boivin stopped 27 of the 30 shots he faced to earn his 11th win of the season.

Dirracolo, who turned aside 35 of the 39 shots the Rock directed his way, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of Saturday’s contest were Svarich, Clark and Patrick … The Rock went 3-6 on the power play Saturday, while the Voodoos were 2-3 with the man advantage … Rock blue-liner Elijah Pool served the third game of the five-game suspension he picked up after being assessed a slew-footing major penalty during a Dec. 8 contest on Saturday … Official attendance at the Powassan Sportsplex Saturday was 176 … Saturday’s other action saw the Storm double up the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 4-2 in Iroquois Falls, the Soo Thunderbirds fly past the Eagles 3-2 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and the Beavers top the Elliot Lake Vikings 5-2 in Blind River … The Rock will host the Hearst Lumberjacks at the McIntyre Arena on Tuesday, at 7 p.m.