TIMMINS, Ont. – Ethan Pool and Lucas Piekarczyk both tallied twice, while Patrick Boivin posted his second playoff shutout as the Timmins Rock blanked the Soo Thunderbirds 4-0 Thursday evening in the opening game of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League final for the Copeland Cup – McNamara Trophy at McIntyre Arena in front of a season-high 1,382 spectators.
The hometown Rock got on the board first as a surging Pool picked off a pass in the neutral zone and dashed in down the right wing before firing a shot from a sharp angle that leaked through the legs of Sault Ste. Marie starter Landon Miller and trickled across the goal line.
With the goal, Pool has now scored in five straight playoff games.
It was more from Timmins halfway through the opening frame when Piekarczyk slipped by a pair of Thunderbirds’ defenders and drove hard to the net where he made a nice move and lifted a backhand past Miller.
They then handled a pair of Soo power plays in the back half of the session to take their 2-0 lead to the intermission.
The lone mark of the middle stanza saw Pool pot his second of the night at 11:39 as Boivin sent a play up ahead and saw him collect it on the left side and power his way to the net and while falling into the crease, jammed it in.
Moving to the final frame, the Thunderbirds pulled their goalkeeper in the late going in an attempt to get on the board, but Piekarczyk sealed the victory with an empty netter, with Boivin collecting another helper on the night’s final tally.
The result produced a seventh-straight postseason triumph for Timmins and saw the Soo’s eight-game playoff road winning streak, dating back to last season, come to an end.
Game 2 goes Friday back in Timmins at 7 p.m. and on HockeyTV.com.
Timmins Rock vs. Soo Thunderbirds
Game 1: Rock 4 Thunderbirds 0
Game 2: Friday, April 21 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 3: Sunday, April 23 @ Soo 6 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 4: Monday, April 24 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 5*: Wednesday, April 26 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 6*: Sunday, April 30 @ Soo 7 p.m. (John Rhodes Community Centre)
Game 7*: Tuesday, May 2 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Timmins leads best-of-seven series 1-0
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel