TIMMINS, Ont. – An A.J. Campbell marker, on a goal-mouth scramble, late in the second overtime was the difference as the Timmins Rock edged the Hearst Lumberjacks 2-1 in a thrilling Game 4 of their East Division semifinal Friday night in front of a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League season-high 1,440 spectators at McIntyre Arena.
With the outcome, Timmins now leads this best-of-seven affair 3-1 with Game 5 scheduled for Sunday at 7 p.m. at Claude Larose Arena in Hearst.
Going to the power play, the Lumberjacks opened the night’s scoring just past the 12-minute mark of the first period as they moved the puck around nicely before getting to the point where J.J. Berdal fired an attempt on net that deflected off Daniel Fisher parked in front and past Rock netminder Tyler Masternak.
It stayed that way until the final minute of the second stanza when Timmins drew level with a man advantage of their own that resulted in Riley Robitaille working his way out from the corner and firing a shot that found its way through a crowd in front to level the proceedings at 19:16.
Moving on to the third period, both goaltenders, in the Hearst’s Nicholas Tallarico and the Rock’s Masternak, were both solid throughout as the score stayed tied through 60 minutes as the clubs went to extra time for a second straight outing.
It was more of the same in the first OT with each netminder keeping opposing shooters at bay.
Then, in the latter stages of the second extra session, Timmins finally converted on their 53rd shot of the night as Campbell jammed in the game-winner, from close range, that Tallarico got a piece of, but not quite enough, as the puck trickled across the goal line to end it at 18:45.
Masternak finished 26 saves to pick up the win while NOJHL MVP Tallarico was outstanding in defeat for Hearst, finishing with 51 stops, in the narrow setback.
East Division semifinal
No. 1 Hearst Lumberjacks vs. No. 4 Timmins Rock
Timmins leads best-of-seven series 3-1
Game 1: Hearst 6 Timmins 3
Game 2: Timmins 6 Hearst 2
Game 3: Timmins 2 Hearst 1 (OT)
Game 4: Timmins 2 Hearst 1 (2OT)
Game 5: Sunday, March 24 @ Hearst 7 p.m. (Claude Larose Arena)
Game 6*: Monday, March 25 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 7*: Wednesday, March 27 @ Hearst 7 p.m. (Claude Larose Arena)
Game Photos courtesy of Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)