SUDBURY, Ont. – The Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League’s third divisional playoff series will commence this evening as the Timmins Rock host the French River Rapids in a 7 p.m. start at McIntyre Arena.
Finishing 74 points ahead of the Rapids in the standings, the Rock will be considered big favourites in the best-of-seven affair. Here’s a looks at how both clubs shape up:
Rock: Brandon Perry
Rapids: Paul Frustaglio
Timmins: 45-8-3-2 (1st NOJHL East/1st Overall)
French River: 9-46-2-1 (4th NOJHL East/10th Overall)
HEAD-TO-HEAD: It was a clean sweep for the Rock in the season set against the Rapids as Timmins won all four meetings, while outscoring French River 27-5 along the way.
Oct. 21: @ Timmins (6-1 Rock)
Dec. 3: @ French River (7-3 Rock)
March 5: @ Timmins (8-0 Rock)
March 11: @ French River (6-1 Rock)
NOJHL East Division semifinal
Timmins Rock vs. French River Rapids
Game 1: Friday, March 24 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 2: Saturday, March 25 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 3: Monday, March 27 @ French River 7 p.m. (Noelville Arena)
Game 4: Tuesday, March 28 @ French River 7 p.m. (Noelville Arena)
Game 5*: Thursday, March 30 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 6*: Saturday, April 1 @ French River 7 p.m. (Noelville Arena)
Game 7*: Monday, April 3 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
THE ROCK: A banner campaign for Timmins saw them win both the league’s East Division title and the NOJHL’s overall regular season crown by going 45-8-3-2 and registering 95 points. … The Rock were led offensively by the tandem of NOJHL MVP Nicolas Pigeon and fellow 1st Team All-Star forward Brady Harroun. … Pigeon paced all league skaters in offensive numbers with 107 points. … He also led all players in assists with 81, while his 44 points on the power play topped all players. … As for Harroun, he became the first NOJHLer since 2016 to notch 50 goals in season. … His 50 tallies were the most in league play, as were his nine game-winning markers and 20-man advantage efforts. … Harroun’s 96 points trailed only Pigeon as he finished second overall in scoring. … Pigeon wrapped up the regular season with points in 21 straight contests while Harroun had a 20-game run to conclude play. … Nicholas Frederick’s three shorthanded markers tied him for second-highest in the league. … Kenyon Nyman, who also earned 1st Team NOJHL All-Star status, paced all league defencemen in assists and points with 49 and 60 respectively. … He was also tops in power play points among blueliners with 30. … Brandon Rossetti’s four game-winners tied for the league lead among defencemen. … Goaltenders Jacob Brown (1.49) and Patrick Boivin (1.98) both had solid seasons for Timmins, finishing one-two in the league in terms of goals-against average. … Brown was second in save percentage (.925), while Boivin (.920) sat sixth. … Brown’s seven shutouts led the NOJHL and Boivin, who led the league in wins (27) shared second with six shutouts to his credit. … The Rock scored the second-most goals on the season with 273 and allowed the fewest with just 111 against. … Timmins went 36-3-1-1 when scoring first in a game this season. … Special teams played a big part in the Rock’s success during the campaign as they led the NOJHL in power play success at 27.5% and were second on the P.K. at 84.5%. … The Rock were 40-1-0-2 when leading after two periods of play.
THE RAPIDS: A solid season on the ice saw second-year forward Josh Russell lead the Rapids in scoring in 2022-23. … The 19-year-old competed at nearly a point-per-game pace with 54 in 55 outings. … Russell also topped the team in goals and assists with 22 and 32 respectively. … Rookie Jordan Bax was next on the squad with 43 points, including 13 tallies, two of which were game-winners. … He tied for eighth in overall rookie scoring while teammate Matthew Campanella shared 12th in this league category. … Campanella’s 19 markers tied him for fourth best among rookies and his 10 power play goals were the most in the NOJHL by first-year junior players. … Connor Picard’s two shorthanded tallies tied him for top spot among rookies. … Defenceman Jack Ginocchi was third on French River, in terms of points, with 41. … His contributions saw him finish seventh overall in scoring by league blueliners. … Ginocchi’s 11 tallies meanwhile tied him for third among D-men. … His two man-down efforts were the most by league rearguards. … Both he and Russell set personal single-season bests in goals, assists and points. … Goaltender Brady Dyer saw the most work in net with Rapids, appearing 30 times, while seeing nearly 1,400 minutes of work. … His 1,046 saves were the seventh highest in the league this season. … Matthew Perdue and Ben Gustafson both had 900-plus minutes of time in net. … Dyer and Perdue shared the team-lead in wins with four apiece. … French River went 7-11-2-1 when scoring first in a game this season. … The Rapids were 10th in the NOJHL on the power play at 11.7%. …. On the penalty kill meanwhile, the team ended up 11th at 75.2%. … French River was 5-2-1-0 when taking a lead into the third period.
UP NEXT: Awaiting the winner of this match-up will be either the Hearst Lumberjacks or Powassan Voodoos, who meet in the other East Division semifinal.
WHERE TO WATCH: All NOJHL playoff games can be viewed online via HockeyTV.com.
Photo credit: Thomas Perry / Timmins Daily Press