COCHRANE, Ont. – The Timmins Rock saw Tyler Gilberds tally twice, including netting the game-winner, in helping his side skate to an eventual 6-2 triumph over the Cochrane Crunch in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League contest Friday evening at Tim Horton Events Centre.
With both clubs seeing their first game action of 2021, Cochrane was quick out of the gate as they struck before the contest was two minutes old.
That came about when Ryan Hunter was sent in alone on a breakaway where he darted in, cut right, and lifted in a backhand over the outstretched glove of Timmins starter Tyler Masternak.
The Rock countered with the equalizer a couple of shifts later with Gilberds banging in a loose puck off a goal-mouth scramble.
Taking their first lead of the night, the visitors went up 2-1 at 7:46 as Evan Beaudry moved along the blueline to mid-ice, faked a shot to get more room, then snapped an attempt on net that was eventually slammed in by Tyler Schwindt from close range.
Moving to the middle stanza, Timmins tacked on another off a Bode Dunford shot from the left circle that was stopped by Crunch goalkeeper Michael Nickolau, but the rebound went right to Gilberds at the top of the crease where he whipped in his second of the night.
The hosts got that back near the midway mark of the contest as Sebastien Ouimet took a Hunter feed from behind the goal line and quickly zipped in a shot from the left of Masternak to move Cochrane back to within one.
Going to the power play a couple of minutes later, Timmins restored their two-tally edge when Zach Smith clicked from the right of Nickolau, who made an initial stop off an Eric Moreau shot from the point, but saw the rebound put past the pad of the Cochrane netminder.
Taking a 4-2 lead into the final frame, the Rock extended their cushion when Nicolas Pigeon forced a turnover deep in Cochrane territory before tucking in his first NOJHL goal at 5:21 of the third with a solid individual effort.
They then capped off the evening’s scoring in the late going when Riley Robitaille picked off a pass behind the net then got it over to a waiting Josh Dickson, who finished off a quick one-timer for his eighth marker of the campaign.
Shots on goal finished up 57-27 in favour of the Rock with Masternak collecting the win while Nickolau was busy in defeat.
The two teams are slated to meet again Saturday in a 6 p.m. start back in Cochrane and it can be viewed online at HockeyTV.com.
Game Photos: Emily Martin