Photos: Dal Photography
FRENCH RIVER – A Riley Brousseau goal with just 69 seconds remaining in remaining in regulation proved to be a game-winner as the Timmins Rock pulled out a dramatic 5-4 triumph over the French River Rapids Sunday evening in Game 3 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal at Noelville Arena.
The result gives Timmins a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven set, heading into Game 4 Monday night back at Noelville Arena, which features a 7 p.m. start.
French River began the night’s scoring, three and a half minutes into the contest, thanks to Chase Thompson, who had a couple of cracks at it before finally stuffing it past a sprawled Gavin McCarthy in the Timmins net during a goal-mouth scramble.
Coming back to tie it a couple of shifts later, Carson Cox of the Rock did so as the defenceman pinched in from the point and hammered home a one-timer at 5:42 that Rapids’ starter Cole Sheffield had no chance on.
Building on that, Timmins tacked on two more in the back half of the first period to take a 3-1 lead.
Rock captain Tyler Schwindt got his club’s second of the session at 13:40 as he finished off a Nicolas Pigeon set-up while right on top of Sheffield.
A couple of shift’s later, Liam Wells extended the visitor’s cushion as he converted on a wraparound following a hard Timmins’ forecheck.
Picking up a late power play, French River pulled back to within one before the first intermission thanks to Levi Siau, who was there to stuff in a loose puck off a Dominik Godin shot on net.
Up a skater again early in the middle frame, Spencer Hughes tied it for the Rapids as he was there to finish Chase Lefebvre’s attempt from up high for his second of the series.
Regaining the lead off a man advantage breakaway, Harry Clark of the Rock flew in and made a nifty move to his left before lifting a back hand over the pad of Sheffield midway through the contest.
A great chance to tie things up once more, Godin was stopped by McCarthy on a break late in the second to keep the guests in front with a period to play.
Getting the tying tally though with just over two minutes left in the third, Godin collected another with a sizzler from the right point to seemingly help send it to overtime.
However, Timmins came right back and got the decider courtesy of Brousseau as he completed off a quick three-way passing play with Gabinien Kioki and Tyler Gilberds by slamming in the game-winner from in close to put the Rock just one win away from a berth in the NOJHL East Final.
NOJHL East Division semifinal
Timmins Rock vs. French River Rapids
Timmins leads best-of-seven series 3-0
Game 1: Rock 6 Rapids 2
Game 2: Rock 2 Rapids 0
Game 3: Rock 5 Rapids 4
Game 4: Monday, April 11 @ French River 7 p.m. (Noelville Arena)
Game 5*: Wednesday, April 13 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 6*: Friday, April 15 @ French River 7 p.m. (Noelville Arena)
Game 7*: Sunday, April 17 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)