GALLERY: Voodoos push defending champs to brink of elimination

Powassan Voodoos goalie Daniel Dirracolo takes a shot off his shoulder as blue-liner Alexander Case looks on during the first period of Game 5 of the NOJHL’s East Division final at the McIntyre Arena Thursday night. The Voodoos overcame a two-goal deficit and went on to defeat the Rock 4-3 in double overtime, taking a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series in the process. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS jpg, TD, apsmc

Thomas Perry
The Daily Press/Postmedia Network

The defending NOJHL champions find themselves on the brink of elimination after dropped a 4-3 double overtime Game 5 decision to the Powassan Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena Thursday night.

And the Voodoos, up 3-2, will have an opportunity to finish off the best-of-seven East Division final on home ice at the Powassan Sportsplex Saturday night.

For the third time in the series the Rock blew a two-goal advantage on home ice and went down to defeat in overtime, although in this case it took a second OT period for the Voodoos to skated off with the victory.

Chase Thompson proved to be the overtime hero for the Voodoos Thursday night, as he completed his hat-trick 30 seconds into the second overtime period.

“It was just kind of a chip play into the zone and (Cameron) Lemcke kicked it around a little bit and it popped out in front of me and I banged her home,” he said.

Almost everything Thompson shot Thursday night was going in the net for him, almost.

“I missed a few chances in the first OT, so in the second OT I had to be sure I got her,” he said.

Earlier in the series, it was Thompson’s linemates, Mathieu MacMillan and Reyth Smith who displayed the finishing touch around the net.

“I guess it was my turn tonight, but it was a whole team effort,” he said.

“Our goalie played great, we played our systems and our penalty kill was blocking shots and doing everything it is supposed to do.”

The Rock got on the scoreboard first Thursday night, thanks to Brant Romaniuk’s power-play marker, his seventh goal of the playoffs, with just under five minutes remaining in the opening period.

Liam Wells’ second goal of the playoffs 57 seconds into the middle frame doubled the Rock advantage.

Just over two minutes later, things began to unravel for the Rock, however.

Thompson’s first goal of the night and playoffs got the Voodoos on the scoreboard.

And 14 minutes later, he tied things up at 2-2 when he netted his second goal of the night and playoffs.

Former Rock forward Dylan McElhinny then put the Voodoos in front in the third period when he notched a power-play marker, his fifth goal of the playoffs.

Captain Felix Cadieux-Fredette got the Rock back on even terms, when he scored a power-play marker, his first goal of the playoffs, with just under eight minutes remaining in regulation.

Neither side was able to break the deadlock during the first overtime period, allow the Rock came close only to see Voodoos goalie Daniel Dirracolo make a game-saving stop in the dying seconds of the session.

That set the stage for Thompson’s game-ending shot early in the second OT period.

The frustration level for Rock coach and general manager Brandon Perry was understandably high following Thursday night’s setback.

“We go up two goals again on home ice and it’s just inexcusable,” he said.

“We had a 20-year-old player, Nolan Ring, trying to carry the puck over the top of the zone, turns it over and it’s in the back of our net, starts everything. It’s inexcusable, guys who have been her this long, 20 year olds in our locker room just costing us games.

“Nobody feels sorry for us, there’s no trends, no luck, we have to get rested, get prepared and go win a game on the road.”

The coach had been relatively happy with his squad’s game up until they allowed the first Powassan goal.

“We make a mistake and if that guy can make it, other guys want to make mistakes, not get pucks in deep, not follow the game plan and it just gets away from us, that quick,” Perry said.

The coach opted not to single out any individual players for extra praise following the contest.

“They all battled, they all worked hard, it was just mistakes, mental mistakes that had nothing to do with effort, nothing to do with their physical skills,” Perry said.

Meawhile, Voodoos coach Peter Goulet couldn’t offer any logical explanation for his team’s ability to overcome a two-goal lead for the third-straight game at the McIntyre Arena.

“There is no rhyme or reason for that, it is just that we don’t quit, we just keep going,” he said.

“Give them credit, too, they keep coming, we have two great hockey teams and it has been a great series.”

Goulet was happy to see Thompson rewarded for his hard work Thursday night.

“It was a huge game for him, with two goals (in regulation) and for him to get the game-winner, I am happy for him,” he said.

“He has had a great season for us and it was a great job by that line.”

A different member of the Voodoos has stepped up and shouldered the load offensively in each of the three games in the series played at the McIntyre Arena.

“We have had a different guy get the game-winner every game,” Goulet said.

One constant in all three victories by the Voodoos at the McIntyre Arena, other than spotting the Rock a two-goal lead, has been the strong play of Dirracolo.

“He has been a rock back there for us and the team feeds of that,” Goulet said.

“He makes a save like that and then we come out and win the game the first shift of the next period. I can’t say enough (good things) about Daniel Dirracolo.”

Dirracolo allowed five goals in Game 4 of the series in Powassan, but Goulet stressed it was the team in front of him that played poorly, not the goaltender.

“That’s hockey, that’s a team thing, we responded tonight and that’s all that matters,” he said.

Another Voodoos player who had a strong game was Tucker Shields, who set up three of the four Powassan goals.

“He has been a force for us all year and he is a great kid,” Goulet said.

“He gives you an honest effort every single night.”

Dirracolo, who turned aside 40 of the 43 shots the Rock directed his way, earned his seventh win of the playoffs.

Rock goalie Patrick Boivin, who 35 of the 39 shots he faced, was tagged with the loss.

NOJHL NOTES — The Daily Press three stars of the game were Thompson, Cadieux-Fredette and Shields … The Rock went 2-5 on the power play, while the Voodoos were 1-4 with the man advantage … Official attendance at the McIntyre Arena was 1,287 … Game 6 in the series will be played at the Powassan Sportsplex on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. Game 7, if necessary, will be played at the McIntyre Arena on Tuesday, at 7:30 p.m.