Timmins Rock captain Nicolas Pigeon and Elliot Lake defender Darcy Scott watch as a point shot gets through to Red Wings goalie Sean Guerin during Saturday night’s NOJHL contest at the Centennial Arena. Pigeon scored a pair of goals and added an assist to help the Rock defeat the Red Wings 4-2. NORTHERN EXPOSURES PHOTOGRAPHY/FOR NOJHL NETWORK
Blue-liner Brandon Rossetti’s first NOJHL goal in his first game in a Timmins uniform snapped a tie and lifted the Rock to a 4-2 win over the Red Wings at the Centennial Arena Saturday night.
ELLIOT LAKE — Blue-liner Brandon Rossetti’s first NOJHL goal in his first game in a Timmins uniform snapped a tie and lifted the Rock to a 4-2 win over the Red Wings at the Centennial Arena Saturday night.
It was the fourth-straight win for the Rock and second-consecutive contest in which a player making their debut netted the game-winning goal — after Kaeden McArthur accomplished the same feat during Wednesday’s 8-0 win over the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake.
Rossetti was acquired from the SIJHL’s Fort Frances Lakers in exchange for a player development fee on Thursday and got into one practice with his new teammates prior to Saturday night’s contest.
“I got the puck in the neutral zone, went up the boards, dropped a pass to (Lucas) Piekarczyk, he passed to my D partner (Felix Cadieux-Fredette) and then he took a shot,” Rossetti said, describing the play that led to his game-winning marker.
“There was a rebound in front of the net and I got it on my backhand and just slid it between the goalie’s pads.”
Rossetti (10, 3-7-10, 16) had decent numbers in his second season with the Lakers, but hadn’t really been expecting to score a goal, much less such an important marker, in his first game with his new team.
“I just wanted to try my best, obviously, in my first game, to try and make an impression,” he said.
“The opportunity came up and I just made the most of it.”
While Rossetti came to the Rock from the Lakers, he spent the second half of the 2021-22 regular season and 2022 playoffs on loan to the SIJHL’s Red Lake Miners, where he was teammates with current Rock forwards Brady Harroun, Piekarczyk and Ethan Pool, as well as fellow blue-liner Kenyon Nyman.
“It helps a lot knowing so many guys,” Rossetti said.
“They are great guys and they have helped me a lot with the transition to a new team.”
Originally from Châteauguay, QC, the 6-2, 181-pound, left-shot blue-liner is happy to be a lot closer to home to finish out the final year of his Junior ‘A’ eligibility, although the commute still isn’t short.
“My parents haven’t really gotten to see me play in a Junior ‘A’ game,” Rossetti said.
“Now that I am closer (roughly a 10-hour drive), they might be able to come and see a game. That would be nice.”
It didn’t take the Rock long to hit the scoresheet Saturday night, with captain Nicolas Pigeon scoring the first of his two goals on the night and eighth of the season just 21 seconds into the contest.
That goal was Pigeon’s 100th point in a Rock uniform in just his 83rd NOJHL contest.
That lead help up until the midway mark in the second period when Thomas Dimoulas scored his seventh goal of the season to get the Red Wings back on even terms.
Nolan Ring’s eighth goal of the season put the Rock in front 2-1 just over four minutes later.
The Red Wings once again battled back to tie things up, at 2-2, at the 3:40 mark of the third period, as Ethan Mercer scored his third goal of the season.
That set the stage for Rossetti’s game-winning heroics and the blue-liner delivered with 5:47 remaining in regulation.
The Red Wings pulled goalie Sean Guerin in favour or an extra attacker late in the period, but Pigeon deposited his second goal of the game and ninth of the season into the empty Elliot Lake net to close out the scoring and make the final 4-2in favour of the Rock.
Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was pleased to see his squad continue its recent string of victories, although he noted there was room for improvement.
“I don’t know what the shots were after the game, but I know they were 29-9 (in favour of the Rock) after two periods,” he said.
“So, we were playing well, with a ton of O Zone time, but it was just the mistakes in our own end. We would get a little soft sometimes, pucks wouldn’t get out and we would turn pucks over in the worst areas.
“It was like man we are all over this team and we make mistakes, give them life and all of a sudden they are back in this game.
“It’s like what’s going on here? It was just one of those nights, but for the most part it was good.”
Having acquired players while wearing his GM hat, that went on to score the game-winning goal during their first Rock action in the past two victories, should fans expect another deal between now and the team’s next game?
“Makes me look like a genius, but no, no, we are very happy with our roster,” Perry said.
“He (Rossetti) stepped in after only having one practice with us and he is a player, definitely a player.”
A number of other Rock players impressed the coach Saturday night, as well.
“I was super happy to see Nicolas Pigeon get his 100th point in just his 83rd game,” Perry said.
“I thought our line of (Thomas) Beard, (Evan) Grigor and (Hayden) Rynard played really well for us.
“Everybody was good, everybody was good, it was just bad moments. It’s nice to get the two points, let’s just keep rolling.”
Patrick Boivin went the distance in net for the Rock to earn his 10th win of the season, while Guerin was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Pigeon, Guerin and Rossetti … Rock forward Nicholas Moore served the fourth game of his eight-game suspension … Saturday’s other action saw the Lumberjacks hold off the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 5-3 in Hearst, the Thunderbirds dump the Cochrane Crunch 6-1 in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, the Blind River Beavers beat the Eagles 5-2 in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich, and the Paper Kings triple the French River Rapids 6-2 in Espanola … The Rock will return to action on Thursday when they travel to Hearst for a game against the Lumberjacks, at 7 p.m. The next home game will be on Friday when they host the Paper Kings at the McIntyre Arena, at 7:30 p.m.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel