SUDBURY, Ont. – The second Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League first round playoff match-up features the Hearst Lumberjacks meeting the Timmins Rock with that get together beginning Saturday at Claude Larose Arena in Hearst at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s a glance at this best-of-five affair:
HOW THEY ARRIVED: The first-year Lumberjacks finished fourth in the NOJHL East with a 23-30-2-1 record in the regular season while the Rock were fifth in the division posting a 19-31-3-3 mark.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: During the campaign the two sides met a total of eight times with Hearst skating to five victories, including going 4-0 on home ice.
In all the Lumberjacks outscored the Rock 25-19, including 17-6 at friendly confines of Claude Larose Arena.
Eight different skaters produced game-winning goals in their earlier meetings.
POINT PRODUCERS: Pacing Hearst offensively in games against Timmins this season was forward Max Griffioen who collected a team-high six tallies along with three assists.
Meanwhile Bradley Golant and Shadow Reuben were next as both players picked up seven points each along the way.
As for the Rock, Wayne Mathieu was the top point getter for his side as he tallied three times and doled out a trio of helpers.
Next was C.J. Bradburn, who picked up five points with Jace Soroko having four.
Throughout the entire regular season, Hearst was led offensively by Samuel Bourdages, Spencer Silver and Griffioen as they recorded 55, 52 and 51 points respectively.
Jordan Picard was the leading point getter for Timmins with 41 while Bradburn chipped in with 32.
THE TENDERS: Goaltending saw Hearst’s Nicholas Dube go 3-0 against Timmins posting a nice 1.50 goals-against average and a .939 save mark.
As for the club’s other current netminder, Matt Kustra was 1-0 and had a 2.00 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
Between the pipes for the Rock, Eric Jackson saw the bulk of the work for his team in net as he registered a 3-2 record vs. the Lumberjacks along with am average of 2.32 as well as save percentage of .903
Tyler Masternak had two starts for Timmins against Hearst but was 0-2.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Both squads penalty killing units were solid throughout the season series with Hearst handling all but two of the 45 times they were shorthanded while Timmins only gave up three-man advantage markers in the 37 occasions they were down a skater.
WHAT’S NEXT: The winner of this series will meet the defending NOJHL champion Powassan Voodoos in a best-of-seven East divisional semifinal.
East Division Quarter-final
No. 4 Hearst Lumberjacks vs. No. 5 Timmins Rock
Game 1: Saturday, March 10 @ Hearst 7:30 p.m. (Claude Larose Arena)
Game 2: Monday, March 12 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 3*: Wednesday, March 14 @ Hearst 7 p.m. (Claude Larose Arena)
All NOJHL playoff games are streamed online at HockeyTV.com.
With files from NOJHL Statistician & Historian David Harrison