HEARST, Ont. – An Evan Kentish-Stack goal 5:14 into the first overtime lifted the Timmins Rock to a 3-2 come from behind victory over the Hearst Lumberjacks Saturday evening in Game 1 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division quarter-final at Claude Larose Arena.
This best-of-three match-up now shifts to McIntyre Arena in Timmins for Game 2 Monday at 7 p.m.
It was the visiting Rock that opened the scoring in the series as Riley Robitaille picked up a rebound off a Riley Brousseau shot from the left side that bounced in front and allowed him to snap one high on Hearst starter Matt Kustra.
The Lumberjacks’ first-ever playoff goal came via a flip pass out of their own zone that clipped the glove of Timmins defender and sent Max Johnson in on a two-man break as he made a quick deke and tucked the tying tally past Rock netminder Tyler Masternak two and a half minutes into the middle stanza.
Hearst then went in front a couple of shifts later with captain Colin Boudreau connecting on the power play.
Moving on to the third period Timmins knotted the affair at 2-2 with 11:22 remaining in regulation as a strong forecheck helped defenceman Jared Hester pinch in along the boards then move to the slot where he snapped in the equalizer.
It stayed that way until OT when Kentish-Stack stuffed in the game-winner from the side of the crease after some hard work in the corner by Stewart Parnell as he buried a loose puck off a Derek Sequin attempt that lay open close by to end it.
Masternak made 48 saves to record the win for the Rock while Kustra suffered the setback for Hearst while facing 43 shots.
East Division play-in series
No. 4 Hearst Lumberjacks vs. No. 5 Timmins Rock
Timmins leads best-of-three series 1-0
Game 1: Timmins 3 Hearst 2 (OT)
Game 2: Monday, March 12 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 3*: Wednesday, March 14 @ Hearst 7 p.m. (Claude Larose)
*- if necessary
Photos courtesy of Jimmy Cote Photography