Canadians hit win column in handing Rock 1st defeat

Rayside-Balfour Canadians forward Giordano Biondi cycles the puck behind the Rock net before Timmins blue-liner Bode Dunford can catch up with him. Biondi, playing his first game since returning to the Canadians lineup, did not have any points but it did not matter as Rayside-Balfour went on to post a 7-4 victory. BEN LEESON/THE SUDBURY STAR/POSTMEDIA NETWORK

CHELMSFORD – A rapid three-goal outburst, coming just 21 seconds apart in the back half of the third period, powered the Rayside-Balfour Canadians past the Timmins Rock 7-4 Thursday evening in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Chelmsford Arena.

Going to the game’s first power play midway through the opening frame, Rayside-Balfour opened the scoring as Mitchell Martin snapped a low shot from the left face off circle that clipped off the skate of a Timmins defender and slipped past Rock starter Gavin McCarthy.

It was more from the home side at 13:28 as Owen Perala won a puck battle in his own zone, then powered up the left wing and proceeded to fire an attempt over McCarthy’s glove and off the right post and in.

The Rock countered quickly however, tallying twice in a two-minute span to knot the affair at 2-2.

Timmins captain Derek Seguin got the guests on the board with a nice redirection in front that beat Rayside-Balfour netminder David Bowen before Josh Dickson banged in his third of the season from close range to send the two sides to the intermission knotted at 2-2.

Early in the middle stanza, the visitors kept coming as Cameron Kosurko stuffed in a loose puck, in the crease, off a goal-mouth scramble 45 seconds in.

Regrouping, the hosts got the equalizer at 8:43 off a rush into Timmins territory as Jaxon Bedard corralled his own rebound and stuffed in his first NOJHL goal.

Then down a skater, the Canadians’ Oliver Smith swiped the puck off a Rock defender, drove towards the net and tucked in a backhander to put RBC back on top heading to the final frame.

In the third, the back-and-forth affair saw the visitors draw level near the five-minute mark when Zachary Fortin snapped a shot from the high slot that squeaked through Bowen’s leg and trickled across the goal line to even the proceedings once more.

Then later in the session, Rayside-Balfour erupted three times in quick order to break things open.

Martin, with his second of the night, coming off a deft deflection put the home side back in front for good.

Then right off the draw, Smith tacked on another, finishing off a nice three-way passing play.

Not done there, off a Timmins timeout, the Canadians scooped up clearing attempt that helped Nicholas DeGrazia dart in and go top shelf, short side, and chase McCarthy in favour of backup Tyler Masternak.

Neither team would convert offensively the rest of the way helping Rayside-Balfour record their first win of the season as they improved to 1-3-1 on the campaign.

Martin and captain Brady Maltais finished with three points apiece in the triumph.

Bowen finished with 36 saves to record the victory.

McCarthy suffered the loss, allowing seven against on 28 chances, while Masternak was spotless in relief as the Rock slipped to 4-1-0 on the year.

The two teams are scheduled meet again Saturday in an 8:30 p.m. start at McIntyre Arena on

Timmins Rock forward Harry Clark reaches in to knock the puck off the stick of Rayside-Balfour Canadians captain Brady Maltais during Thursday night’s NOJHL game at the Chelmsford Arena. The Canadians scored three goals in a span of 21 seconds in the third period to register a 7-4 victory — their first of the season. BEN LEESON/THE SUDBURY STAR/POSTMEDIA NETWORK