Photos: Dal Photography
FRENCH RIVER – Nicolas Pigeon’s second goal of the game, coming with 4:24 left in the third period, proved to be the game-winner as the Timmins Rock skated away with a 3-2 decision over the French River Rapids Monday night in Game 4 of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal at Noelville Arena.
With the result, Timmins takes the best-of-seven set 4-0 and now moves on to meet either the Hearst Lumberjacks or Powassan Voodoos in the East Division Final.
Neither side would convert offensively in a scoreless first period in Monday’s meeting.
Breaking the deadlock in the second stanza, Timmins caught French River on a change and broke out in numbers, which resulted in Harry Clark firing a shot that was stopped by the pad of Rapids’ goalkeeper, but the rebound went to a hard-charging Pigeon, who swooped in and buried one at 5:50.
Carrying their slim 1-0 lead into an action-packed third, French River tied it at 5:49 when Dominik Godin notched his NOJHL playoff-leading fifth goal by powering down the left wing before driving to the net and tucking one past Gavin McCarthy of the Rock with a splendid individual effort.
Coming right back though, Tyler Gilberds put Timmins back on top on the next shift as he too came down the left wing and ripped a wrist shot in from the circle.
The visitors then added some insurance with under five minutes left in regulation as Pigeon picked up his second of the night with an extended wrap around from behind the net before putting it past Dilauro’s pad.
Continuing to battle, Rapids got back to within one at 17:37 thanks to Chase Lefebvre dumping one in off the end-broads that took a strange bounce and clipped off the back of McCarthy and skipped across the goal line.
Pressing to tie it and force extra time, French River would be held off by the Rock the rest of the way to round out the series.
NOJHL East Division semifinal
Timmins Rock vs. French River Rapids
Timmins wins best-of-seven series 4-0
Game 1: Rock 6 Rapids 2
Game 2: Rock 2 Rapids 0
Game 3: Rock 5 Rapids 4
Game 4: Rock 3 Rapids 2