POWASSAN — The Timmins Rock entered play Friday night in a three-way tie for second place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings, but they ended the night in a two-way tie for third place — with the Voodoos breathing down their neck.
That is due in large part to the 2-0 setback they suffered against the Voodoos at the Powassan Sportsplex.
Combine that outcome with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners 1-0 win over the Thunderbirds in Sault Ste. Marie and the Lumberjacks 5-2 win over the Cochrane Crunch in Hearst and the playoff picture is starting to become a little clearer.
With 69 points on the season, the Lumberjacks (31-15-6-1) sit atop the East Division standings, with three games remaining on their 2018-19 NOJHL schedule.
The Gold Miners (30-16-2-3), by virtue of their road victory sit alone in second place, four points behind the Lumberjacks, with five games remaining.
That leaves the Rock (30-19-3-0) and the Crunch (29-19-1-4) tied for third place, two points behind the Gold Miners, with Timmins having four games remaining and Cochrane three.
Meanwhile, the Voodoos (30-19-1-1), thanks to their win over the Rock, trail Timmins and Cochrane by a single point, with five games remaining on their schedule.
In Powassan, the Rock peppered Voodoos goalie Joe Vrbetic with 36 shots Friday night, but could not get the puck past him.
The Rock came out flying in the first period of the contest, outshooting the Voodoos 16-4 but neither team could find the back of the net.
A pair of goals three minutes apart in the middle of the second period provided the Voodoos with all the offence they would need on the night.
Tomas Yachmenev’s 21st tally of the season at the 12:36 mark of the frame stood up to be the game-winning goal.
Rico Rossi followed with his 14th goal of the campaign to provide the Voodoos with a little insurance.
Vrbetic’s 36-save performance earned him his 14th win of the season for the Voodoos.
Rock goalie Tyler Masternak, who turned aside 22 of the 24 shots he faced, was tagged with the loss.
NOJHL NOTES — The three stars of the game were Vrbetic, Yachmenev and Voodoos forward David Campbell (two assists) … The Rock did not dress defenceman Gregory Arnburg (undisclosed) and forward Tyler Hutchinson (upper-body injury … The Rock went 0-4 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 0-5 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the Powassan Sportsplex was 315 … Friday night’s only action not involving one of the East Division’s Top 5 teams saw the Eagles dump the Rayside-Balfour Canadians 7-2 in Sault, Mich., while the game between the Blind River Beavers and the Wildcats in Elliot Lake was postponed … The Rock will continue their three-game weekend road trip in French River with a pair of games against the Rapids, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.