Photos: Dal Photography
FRENCH RIVER – The French River Rapids saw Cooper Bowman reach the 100-point plateau in his Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League career Sunday afternoon, helping his side rally for a 6-4 victory over the Timmins Rock at Noelville Arena.
Setting the tone early, Timmins struck just over a minute into the proceedings as Riley Brousseau broke free at the French River blueline and went in alone on Rapids’ netminder Cole Sheffield and lifted a quick shot over his blocker, for his 19th tally of the season.
Tacking on another, just after a man advantage had elapsed, Harry Clark banged in a back hand off a rebound from Bode Dunford attempt from the point at 10:59.
Getting one back before the first intermission, Ryan Goral put French River on the board by jamming in a loose puck hovering near the goal line off a Dominik Godin wrist shot that Rock goalkeeper Gavin McCarthy could not completely gather in.
Moving to the middle session, Timmins captain Tyler Schwindt made it 3-1 for the visitors on the opening shift of the session as he picked up his team-leading 34th tally by zipping one into the corner after an impressive rush up the ice.
Battling back, the Rapids made it 3-2 just over a minute later when Spencer Borg picked off a play from behind the net and fed one in front that was quickly wired in by Godin as he reached the 35-goal plateau on the year.
The hosts then drew level at 11:19 thanks to Spencer Hughes notching his 15th by completing a nice three-way passing play with teammates Josh Russell and Griffin Simpson.
Tied at 3-3 in the third, French River broke out in transition after a draw deep in their own zone and saw their captain, Bowman, fly up the left wing before moving slightly to the middle and rip a shot that flew past a partially screened McCarthy to give them their first lead.
Adding to the come from behind triumph, the Rapids’ Chase Lefebvre out-raced a trio a Timmins defenders and put one into an empty net at 18:40.
He then tacked on another empty netter in the last minute before Christopher Engelbert notched the day’s final marker for Timmins, prior to time expiring, as he was left unmarked in front and put one into the right side of the net on Sheffield.
With the win, the Rapids improved to 23-24-1-0 as they will now gear up to host the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners next Sunday (April 3) in Game 1 of their best-of-three East Division play-in series, which will get underway at 4 p.m. at Noelville Arena and on HockeyTV.com.
In defeat, the Rock wrapped up their regular season with a record of 33-8-5-2 as they wait to see who their initial playoff opponent will be.
“Highlight of the Night” – NOJHL YouTube Channel