Rock edge Wild­cats in SO

Timmins un­de­feated at NOJHL Show­case to push win streak to three games

The Daily Press (Timmins) - - SPORTS - THOMAS PERRY

SUD­BURY — The Timmins Rock wrapped up the NOJHL Show­case with a 3-2 shootout win over the El­liot Lake Wild­cats at the Coun­try­side Sports Com­plex Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Com­bined with Tues­day’s 6-2 win over the Blind River Beavers, it al­lowed the Rock to col­lect four of a pos­si­ble four points dur­ing the two-day tour­na­ment that saw re­sults count to­ward the reg­u­larsea­son stand­ings.

The vic­to­ries al­lowed the Rock (7-4-1-0) to move into third place in the East Di­vi­sion stand­ings — four points be­hind the sec­ond-place Powas­san Voodoos (9-1-1-0) and two points ahead of the fourth-place Hearst Lum­ber­jacks (6-5-1-0).

As one might ex­pect, Rock coach Corey Beer is thrilled with all of those de­vel­op­ments.

“It is a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent than last year, go­ing home 2-0-0-0 in­stead of 0-2-0-0,” he said.

The Rock jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Mahin­gan De­con­tie’s sec­ond goal of the sea­son at the 4:48 mark of the open­ing pe­riod.

Eric Con­ley’s third goal of the sea­son just past the mid­way point of the frame got the Wild­cats back on even terms, how­ever.

The game re­mained dead­locked at 1-1 un­til late in the sec­ond pe­riod when the Wild­cats got the go-ahead goal off the stick of Evan Della Paol­era, his first of the sea­son.

The Rock were able to get the equal­izer early in the third pe­riod when Ri­ley Ro­bitaille net­ted a power-play marker, his fourth goal of the sea­son.

A five-minute three-on-three over­time pe­riod failed to de­cide any­thing, leav­ing the shootout to de­ter­mine the win­ner of the con­test.

Wild­cats goalie Justin Vertesi stopped the first Rock shooter, Josh Dick­son, and his coun­ter­part, Ni­cholas Dicks, de­nied Con­ley.

Rock cap­tain Derek Seguin then beat Vertesi and Dicks turned aside a Con­nor Tay­lor at­tempt.

The next Rock shooter, De­con­tie, was stopped by Vertesi and Dicks then stood tall on the Wild­cats fi­nal shot, off the stick of Josh Bi­folchi, to seal the deal for Timmins.

Dicks has now stopped all six shootout at­tempts he has faced in a pair of Rock vic­to­ries.

Beer once again was pleased by the ef­fort put forth by the Rock dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s vic­tory.

“Early on to­day, I thought we had lots of good pres­sure and lots of good chances,” he said.

“We just couldn’t get that sec­ond or third goal to put it away early.

“El­liot Lake is a team that keeps forecheck­ing pretty hard and they were pretty op­por­tunis­tic.

“Then, we felt we had some good op­por­tu­ni­ties down the stretch, but their goalie (Vertesi) was full marks. He was out­stand­ing.”

With their two vic­to­ries at the NOJHL Show­case, the Rock have now won three-straight games.

“The qual­ity of play has been im­pres­sive,” Beer said.

“We are not just sneak­ing by with wins. We are try­ing to be dom­i­nant in our ap­proach and our game plan.

“Ob­vi­ously, Tues­day was a tremen­dous win, get­ting out early and sit­ting on that lead.

“To­day was more of a scrappy, try to claw your way back into the game type of thing. Our forecheck was great both days.

“It is im­por­tant for our guys to un­der­stand there are no easy games. They have to play a full 60 min­utes to fin­ish things off.”

The line of Seguin, Ro­bitaille and 16-year-old Kee­gan McMullen was once again front and cen­tre in this Rock vic­tory.

“That line is ar­guable in my mind one of the top lines in this league,” Beer said.

“They were in­cred­i­ble and they do it from both ends. They are a line that gets a lot of de­fen­sive zone starts and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties in our end.

“The way they hunt the puck and forecheck is pretty damn te­na­cious, as well. It is im­pres­sive for the rest of the team to kind of sit and watch these guys lead by ex­am­ple.

“They are two 18 year olds and a 16 year old and I think we are only start­ing to see the best of what’s to come for those three.”

Dicks got the start in the Rock net Wed­nes­day af­ter Tyler Master­nak had been in the crease for the first two wins of the cur­rent streak.

“Be­ing a show­case, you want to give ev­ery­one the chance to play in these games,” Beer said.

“It was an op­por­tu­nity for Nick to get in and get an­other win un­der his belt. He was very good in the shootout again.

“There are go­ing to be stretches where he doesn’t get in for a cou­ple of games and Tyler Master­nak is go­ing to be the guy we run with.

“It is very im­por­tant for a backup goal­tender, or a guy who is a 1B, to cap­i­tal­ize on wins when he is in there.

“More than his sta­tis­ti­cal num­bers, I think wins are so im­por­tant for a backup goalie.”

Once again, the blue-line corps turned in a solid ef­fort, with the help of the team’s backcheck­ing for­wards — lim­it­ing the Wild­cats to just 17 shots in 65 min­utes of hockey.

“It was not just sit­ting back and trap­ping it up,” Beer said.

“It was also our forecheck and our back pres­sure, be­ing good on our de­fen­sive zone ex­its.

“We talk about team de­fence so much. If you are on the right side of your man and the puck, you are go­ing to get your of­fen­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties. If you are a team that cheats and you are on the wrong side of the puck look­ing for stretch passes, more times than not, they don’t tran­spire.

“For us, our guys are buy­ing a good, over­all team con­cept and it is pay­ing div­i­dends.

“We are get­ting good of­fen­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties and hold­ing teams to min­i­mal shot at­tempts. When they do get shots, they are mostly from the out­side.

“We try and make it pretty easy on our goal­tenders back there and sup­port them as much as we can with the five guys in front of them.”

Like the Beavers, the Wild­cats play in the West Di­vi­sion so the Rock only play them a cou­ple of times each sea­son.

“They are a typ­i­cal (Wild­cats coach and gen­eral man­ager) Corey Brick­nell team,” Beer said.

“They are hard work­ing, re­lent­less on the forecheck and phys­i­cal. Their backcheck to­day caused us a lot of prob­lems.

“We are a team that likes to be creative on our of­fen­sive zone en­tries and their backcheck­ing kind of sti­fled a lot of those chances. We had to change our game plan a lit­tle bit and try to play heavy down low.”

Dicks, who turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in reg­u­la­tion and over­time, picked up his sec­ond win a Rock uni­form.

Vertesi, who stopped 30 of the 32 shots the Rock fired his way, was tagged with the shootout loss. ROCK 6

BEAVERS 2

The Rock rode an early of­fen­sive out­burst to Tues­day’s 6-2 vic­tory over the Beavers.

Three goals on six shots in the game’s first 6:06 chased Beavers start­ing goalie Thom­son Phin­ney from the Blind River crease.

“We def­i­nitely came out with good jump,” Beer said.

“We were op­por­tunis­tic on a cou­ple of the goals. We have been try­ing to pound our sys­tem into our guys here, the style we want to play and how we want to at­tack — and also de­fend.

“I think on all three of the goals it was a di­rect re­sult of the things we have been preach­ing, hit­ting the seams on of­fen­sive zone en­tries, good neu­tral zone de­fence, forc­ing turnovers and be­ing op­por­tunis­tic around the net.

“As a staff, you preach cer­tain ways you want to de­fend and young kids want to see the re­sults first, so it was great to see us get re­sults.”

Matt Capis­ci­olto got the puck rolling when he net­ted his sec­ond goal of the sea­son at the 1:42 mark of the open­ing frame.

McMullen then added his fourth goal of the sea­son three-and-a-half min­utes later to put the Rock in front by a pair of goals.

De­fence­man Will Cas­ton then made it a 3-0 hockey game when he blasted a power-play marker past Phin­ney for his first goal of the sea­son.

That spelled the end of Phin­ney’s night, with Gar­ret Boy­onoski com­ing on in relief for the Beavers.

the goalie change seemed to pro­vide blind river with a lit­tle mo­men­tum swing and they were able to get on the score­board be­fore the end of the open­ing pe­riod, as tyler Nott found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the sea­son.

“there is no way you can con­trol 60 min­utes of hockey,” beer said.

“blind river is too good of a team and they made their ad­just­ments. they bat­tled back af­ter the goal­tend­ing change. it sparked them and got them go­ing a lit­tle bit.”

Un­for­tu­nately for the beavers, the swing did not carry through into the sec­ond pe­riod as the rock out­shot them 19-11 and emerged with the frame’s lone marker — de­fence­man Josh an­der­son’s first goal of the sea­son.

“We weath­ered the storm and then we got back on the horse and got go­ing again,” beer said.

“it was great to see. For our guys, it is prob­a­bly the clos­est thing we have had to a com­plete 60-minute ef­fort and it paid off with a good win for us.”

Just past the mid­way mark of the third pe­riod, with the beavers on the power play, they opted to pull boy­onoski in favour of an ex­tra at­tacker in an at­tempt to get back into the hockey game.

the move back­fired, how­ever, and capis­ci­olto stole the puck and de­posited it into the empty blind river net for a short­handed marker, his sec­ond goal of the day and third on the sea­son.

blind river was able to cut into the rock lead five-and-a-half min­utes later when ryan Mul­li­gan net­ted his sec­ond goal of the sea­son.

that would be as close as the beavers would come to get­ting back on even terms, how­ever, as ea­mon bollinger scored a pow­er­play marker, his first goal of the sea­son, with 48 sec­onds re­main­ing in the con­test to make the fi­nal 6-2 in favour of the rock.

beer was once again im­pressed with the ef­fort he saw from capis­ci­olto dur­ing tues­day’s con­test.

“Matt is cer­tainly a guy who is very ver­sa­tile and he can play dif­fer­ent po­si­tions,” he said.

“he has a big body and he is good on the cy­cle. he has re­ally come in and wanted to learn the de­fen­sive side of the puck, which is great to see from an older player. some­times older guys are set in their ways and they don’t want to adapt to change.

“the big­gest thing with him is he has been very open and re­cep­tive to the coach­ing we have been giv­ing him.

“at cer­tain points dur­ing the game to­day, it just seemed like wave af­ter wave, shift af­ter shift, we were play­ing the right way and cre­at­ing good of­fence.

“capy is do­ing a great job right now and we are very ex­cited for where his game is go­ing to get to in the fu­ture.”

bollinger also made a solid im­pres­sion on his coach tues­day.

“he is an­other guy who has come in with the right at­ti­tude,” beer said.

“he is will­ing to do the small things to re­ally be ef­fec­tive. he has played some key min­utes on the penalty kill and he has been re­warded with some power-play time and he scored a power-play goal to­day.

“both capy and bolly are such good-hearted peo­ple and they come by it hon­estly. they have done such a good job in terms of be­ing good team­mates and they are po­lite young men.”

beer was also pleased to see the rock get some of­fen­sive con­tri­bu­tions from the back end on tues­day.

“Will cas­ton got off a bomb of a shot right off the face-off,” he said.

“it was nice to see. he is a big, rugged de­fence­man who some­times doesn’t get the ac­co­lades of­fen­sively, but he cer­tainly can con­trib­ute of­fen­sively.

“he is on the one power play and he makes good out­let passes. it is great to see him get shots off.

“Josh an­der­son was ev­ery­where on the ice to­day. he is such an elite skater and puck mover. We have im­pressed on him to try and move the puck more. the more you are will­ing to put pucks to the net and ac­ti­vate, be in the right spot, the bet­ter your chances of scor­ing.”

cas­ton was ejected from the game in the third pe­riod af­ter re­ceiv­ing a dou­ble-mi­nor for spear­ing, a fiveminute ma­jor for fight­ing and a game mis­con­duct fol­low­ing a dust up with beavers de­fence­man alex en­gle that saw the blind river player as­sessed a two-minute mi­nor for slash­ing, a five-minute ma­jor for fight­ing and a game mis­con­duct.

both play­ers were also is­sued onegame sus­pen­sions fol­low­ing the con­test for be­ing in­volved in a fight in the fi­nal 10 min­utes of a game.

Master­nak, who stopped 29 of the 31 shots di­rected his way, picked up fifth win on the sea­son.

Phin­ney, who blocked three of the six shots he faced, was tagged with the loss. boy­onoski made 24 saves on 26 shots in relief.

NOJHL NOTES — dicks was named the player of the game for the rock on Wed­nes­day, while Vertesi was hon­oured for the Wild­cats ... the rock went 1-4 on the power play, while the Wild­cats were 0-3 with the man ad­van­tage ... Wed­nes­day’s other show­case ac­tion saw the soo thun­der­birds edge the crunch 4-3 in a shootout, the soo ea­gles fly past the hearst lum­ber­jacks 3-2 in over­time, the ray­side-bal­four cana­di­ans knock off the Powas­san Voodoos 3-2, the Kirk­land lake Gold Min­ers dump the beavers 4-1 and the French river rapids top the es­panola ex­press 5-2 ...the rock will travel to es­panola for a game against the ex­press Fri­day night and then to el­liot lake for a con­test against the Wild­cats satur­day night. the next home game for the rock will be on Wed­nes­day, Oct. 17 when they will en­ter­tain the Gold Min­ers at the Mcin­tyre arena.

THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Timmins goalie Ni­cholas Dicks stopped all three at­tempts he faced as the Rock se­cured a 3-2 shootout win on the fi­nal day of the NOJHL Show­case in Sud­bury on Wed­nes­day. Dicks has now faced six shootout at­tempts this sea­son and stopped them all to back stop the Rock to a pair of vic­to­ries.

THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Timmins de­fence­man Will Cas­ton’s first goal of the sea­son came at an op­por­tune time, as it helped the Rock triple the Blind River Beavers 6-2 dur­ing the open­ing day of the NOJHL Show­case at the Coun­try­side Sports Com­plex on Tues­day. The first-pe­riod tally proved to be the game-win­ner.

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