TIMMINS, Ont. – Collecting two tallies apiece from Evan Grigor and Lucas Piekarczyk, the Timmins Rock went on to end the Hearst Lumberjacks nine-game winning streak with a 5-2 triumph Tuesday evening in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division first-place showdown at McIntyre Arena.
The hometown Rock got going offensively four and a half minutes into the match-up on a play started by their starting goaltender, Patrick Boivin.
On the attempt, Boivin sent the puck up the boards that was collected by Brady Harroun, who darted down the wing and fired a shot that was stopped by Hearst’s Ethan Dinsdale, but a big rebound went to Piekarczyk in the high slot, where he promptly hammered in his 15th of the season.
Countering with the equalizer at 7:57, the Lumberjacks drew level on an Adam Shillinglaw marker as the defenceman cranked a one-timer from the right circle, off a Zachary Demers cross-ice pass, while they were on four-on-three man advantage.
The assist for Demers now gives him points in eight straight contests along with collecting nine in his past four.
Regaining the lead before the first intermission, Lucas Lowe provided some solid work and set-up Grigor, who put one through Dinsdale.
Hearst generated the majority of the opportunities in the first eight minutes of the middle stanza, but it was Timmins who made it 3-1 at 8:56 when Nicholas Frederick found himself free in front and lifted in a rising backhand for his 15th of the campaign.
After Hearst had a quality chance to pull back to within one, the Rock countered in transition and sent Grigor dashing down the right wing where he went upstairs with a sharp shot for his second of the night, which put them up by three, after two.
Taking their cushion into the final frame, Timmins confirmed the result with just over six minutes remaining as Nicolas Pigeon set-up Piekarczyk driving to the crease, where he chipped one in.
The helper for Pigeon now gives him points in 18 consecutive contests, which is presently a league-high this season.
Getting one back for the guests was Brandan Tronchin, who finished off a second chance by stuffing one into an open corner for the night’s final goal.
The victory for Boivin was his NOJHL-leading 16th of the season, as he helped his side improve to 25-5-3-2 overall.
Timmins also passes Hearst (26-8-2-0) to move back into top spot in the league’s East Division standings as well as become No. 1 overall with their 55 points.
That puts them one point ahead of the idle Greater Sudbury Cubs, who do however hold two games in hand.
The Cubs will make those up Wednesday and Thursday in a home-and-home with the Powassan Voodoos.
Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network