HEARST, Ont. – Timmins Rock rode the shutout goaltending of Tyler Masternak while veteran forward Wayne Mathieu scored twice and added an assist in a convincing 5-0 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks Wednesday evening in the third and deciding Game 3 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division quarter-final at Claude Larose Arena.
With the result, Timmins takes best-of-three series 2-1 and will now advance to take on the No. 1 seeded Powassan Voodoos in a best-of-seven East semifinal.
Both clubs played a tight-checking opening 20 minutes, which was scoreless as they carried a 0-0 tie into the second stanza.
Forcing a neutral zone giveaway, Timmins took the lead 5:44 into the middle frame as Mathieu scooped the puck free and sent Evan Kentish-Stack in on a partial break as he snapped a low shot past Hearst starter Matt Kustra.
The Rock then added another just over three minutes later after a long stretch pass out of their own zone allowed Jace Soroko to move in on Kustra and lift in a backhand to make it 2-0.
If was a free-wheeling opening to the third period with each club having solid scoring chances early in the session.
Moments after killing a penalty, the visitors went up by three as Timmins capitalized on a turnover that eventually allowed Tyler Gilberds to bury a rebound past Kustra.
The Rock added to their cushion at 8:23 when Mathieu flew down the right wing, darted around a Hearst defender then took the Lumberjacks’ netminder wide before tucking in the insurance marker.
Mathieu tacked on another with a power play goal in the latter stages of the contest to finish off the series-winning victory.
Masternak finished with 40 saves on the night to post his first NOJHL playoff shutout.
Kustra faced 38 shots in the season-ending defeat for Hearst.
East Division quarter-final series
No. 4 Hearst Lumberjacks vs. No. 5 Timmins Rock
Timmins wins best-of-three series 2-1
Game 1: Timmins 3 Hearst 2 (OT)
Game 2: Hearst 3 Timmins 2
Game 3: Timmins 5 Hearst 0
Photos courtesy of Jimmy Cote Photography