Photos: Marc Johnson
HEARST, Ont. – A late first period tally, and two more early in the second, sent the Timmins Rock on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks Wednesday evening in Game 6 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division Final series in front of 721 fans at Claude Larose Recreation Centre.
The result ties the best-of-seven affair at three games apiece to set-up a seventh and deciding contest Friday evening in Timmins at 7:30 p.m.
After some early chances for the visiting Rock, the Lumberjacks had a great opportunity to open the scoring as Tyren Grimsdale went in alone on a breakaway, but Timmins goalkeeper Gavin McCarthy outwaited and stymied him on a deke attempt.
The Rock did collect the night’s opening tally at 17:38 as a heads-up play by Gabinien Kioki saw him come from behind and swipe the puck of a Lumberjacks player before he spun and wired a shot high over the glove of Hearst starter Matteo Gennaro.
Taking their 1-0 lead into the second stanza, Timmins tacked on another early in the middle session when Harry Clark drove hard to the right side of the net and fired a crisp feed in front that was steered in by Nicholas Pigeon at 1:46.
Not done there, the Rock connected once more on the next shift thanks to Christopher Engelbert converting a half-minute later by wheeling around in the slot then rifling one into the top right-hand corner to make 3-0.
Opting to make a change after that, Liam Oxner replaced Gennaro in an effort to spark their side the rest of the way.
There would be no further scoring in the session as Timmins took their three-goal lead into the second intermission.
In the final frame, it stayed 3-0 Rock until the late going when the home side pulled Oxner for an extra attacker and scored.
Pressing to get on the board, the Lumberjacks finally got one past McCarthy with two minutes to play thanks to Tyler Patterson redirecting in a Dylan Ford pass from the point.
However, that was as close as Hearst would get with the Rock holding firm defensively the rest of the way to secure the road triumph and set-up Game 7 at home Friday.
NOJHL East Division Final
Timmins Rock vs. Hearst Lumberjacks
Best-of-seven series tied 3-3
Game 1: Rock 6 Lumberjacks 1
Game 2: Lumberjacks 5 Rock 3
Game 3: Lumberjacks 6 Rock 5 (OT)
Game 4: Rock 6 Lumberjacks 3
Game 5: Lumberjacks 3 Rock 2 (OT)
Game 6: Rock 3 Lumberjacks 1
Game 7: Friday, April 29 @ Timmins 7:30 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)