Photos: Rob Horn
SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. – A Tyler Schwindt tally 22 seconds into overtime lifted the Timmins Rock to a narrow 5-4 victory over the Soo Eagles Friday in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action at Pullar Stadium.
Seeing their first game action since February 4, Timmins showed little rust as they scored twice in a 13-second span to take an early 2-0 lead.
Nicholas Frederick got the Rock rolling at 12:24 as he converted on a man advantage by deflecting a Dylan McElhinney shot from the high slot while parked in front of Sault Ste. Marie starter Ryan Gilmore.
Coming right back off the draw, Nolan Ring put the guests up by a pair after Timmins forced a turnover, which allowed him to move in and lift one high over a sprawled Gilmore.
In the second period, the visitors added to their cushion off an odd-man rush that saw the Rock complete a two-on-one to perfection with Schwindt sliding a nice feed over to Henry Brock, who slammed in his ninth of the year, with the Soo netminder having no chance on the play.
Countering quickly, the Eagles got themselves on the board on the next shift thanks to Trevor Davis pinching in from the point and depositing a loose puck that clipped off the cross bar that eluded Timmins netminder Konrad Simard.
Picking up a late power play, the Soo drew closer with help from Davis’ second point of the stanza as his cross-ice pass allowed Seth Ferguson to blast a one-timer that flew past Simard, blocker side, to make it 3-2 after two.
Skating four-on-four early in the third, the Rock went back up by a pair as Nicolas Pigeon split the defence and went in on a breakaway and after initially being stymied, he roofed his own rebound from in close.
Undaunted, the Eagles roared back to force extra time as they clicked twice on the power play in the late going.
Ferguson’s second of night, coming at 15:24, made it 4-3 before Nicholas Castillo, with the Soo goalie out for an extra attacker, and on the man advantage, ripped in the equalizer at 18:23 from the hash marks to tie it.
However, Timmins struck quickly in OT after Pigeon chipped the puck off the boards and calmly outwaited an Eagles defender before feeding Schwindt who ripped in the game-winner for his 22nd of the season and 50th NOJHL goal overall.
With the win, the Rock improved to 25-5-1-1 while the Michigan Soo slipped to 20-7-2-1.