HEARST, Ont. – A three-goal first period sent the Timmins Rock on their way Friday to an eventual 7-2 triumph over the Hearst Lumberjacks in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League encounter at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
The visiting Rock would open the night’s scoring 6:45 into the contest as Riley Robitaille forced a turnover just inside the Hearst zone and chipped it ahead to Landon Deforge who came in alone on Lumberjacks’ goaltender Andrew Stepan, outwaited him with a couple of dekes, then stuffed the puck into the left corner of the net.
Timmins tacked on another six minutes later when Tyler Gilberds was the recipient of a Deforge feed and quickly slid in a backhand from the slot to put the guests up by a pair.
Not done there, the Rock potted one more before the first frame was complete as Zachary Fortin made a perfect cross-ice pass from the left side that left teammate Harry Clark with a tap in.
It was more from the visitors in the middle stanza with Brendan Boyce snagging a rebound between the hashmarks and snapping a shot off the blocker and in with four and a half minutes left in the frame.
The home side did get on the board late in the session as Dylan Ford whipped a high-rising attempt from the point that sailed through a crowd and past Timmins goalkeeper Tyler Masternak for his first NOJHL marker.
In the third, Timmins added to their lead 3:39 in as Cameron Kosurko pushed the play forward off the draw, which allowed Zach Smith to stuff a chance under the netminder’s pad and in on a night where he ran a consecutive game point streak to eight in succession.
Using a pair of nice passes from Carson Cox and Zachary Demers, the Lumberjacks clicked on the power play with 12:35 to go as their efforts gave Raphael Lajeunesse, parked in front, the whole open side to deposit third marker of the season.
Picking up an additional man advantage chance a few shifts later, the hosts had another chance to draw even closer, but the Rock broke up a play and struck shorthanded thanks to Tyler Schwindt midway through the period.
Capping off the road victory, Evan Beaudry wired one in from the left faceoff dot at 14:31 to round out the scoring.
Final shots on goal finished 51-23 in favour of the Rock with Masternak making 21 stops to record his league-leading sixth win of the season.
Stepan faced 44 shots in defeat while Liam Oxner handled all four chances, he saw in a brief four and a half minute relief stint.
The two teams are back at it Sunday in a 4 p.m. start at Claude Larose Community Centre in Hearst with the match-up being streamed live via HockeyTV.com.
Game Photos: Marc-André Longval