Rock rally to edge Thunderbirds



Release Date: Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

Rock rally to edge Thunderbirds

SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. – A Grant McClellan power play goal with 9:13 remaining proved to the game-winner as the Timmins Rock rallied to edge the Soo Thunderbirds 5-4 Sunday afternoon in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League play at Essar Centre.

Missing six starters who are heading to Cornwall, Ont., as part of Team NOJHL to compete in the Eastern Canada All-Star Challenge that begins Monday morning, short-staffed Sault Ste. Marie did open the scoring in the contest on a Ryan Waterhouse man advantage effort 81 seconds in.

Timmins responded with Bain Cunningham’s eighth of the season at 8:52 before Gage Stephney countered for the Thunderbirds with the eighth at 18:54.

The Rock struck twice early in the middle session to tie it then go in front before the period was five minutes old on efforts from Tyler Romain and Cory Sprague.

It continued to go back and forth from there as the T-Birds came back with two tallies of their own to go up 4-3 after 40 minutes thanks again to Waterhouse and Stephney, who notched his while the Soo was shorthanded.

Sprague’s second of the day and 13th overall knotted the affair at 9:24 into the third, which was followed by McClellan’s game-winner two shifts later to round out the scoring.

James Watier and Jordan Rendle had two assists each for the Rock while Keegan Stevenson added a pair of helpers for the Thunderbirds.

The Soo outshot Timmins 30-27 in the contest with Matt Nixon picking up the win and Brandon Gordon the loss.

It marked the Thunderbirds first home ice regular season setback since March 6, 2015 when they were edged 4-3 by Elliot Lake.