TIMMINS, Ont. – A well-balanced attack saw the Timmins Rock collect goals from six different skaters Thursday as they went on to sink the French River Rapids 6-2 in front of 811 spectators at McIntyre Arena in the first game of their Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League East Division semifinal.
Notching the night’s initial tally, just past the nine-minute mark of the first period, was Timmins’ Nicholas Frederick, who came out from the corner before darting around the net and tucking one in on a wraparound before French River goalkeeper Cole Sheffield could get across to stop it.
Not done there, the Rock tacked on another 41 seconds later thanks to Dylan McElhinny diving and knocking in a loose puck to the right of Sheffield.
Adding to their lead prior to the intermission, the home side connected on the power play as Nicolas Pigeon went down on his way to the net, but saw the puck bounce around and eventually right back to him as he was left with a man advantage tap-in at 14:21.
In the middle session, French River cut into the deficit at 6:54 when Spencer Borg skated down the left wing and fired a quick shot that fooled Timmins’ goalkeeper Gavin McCarthy blocker side.
Restoring their three-goal cushion before the second intermission, Nolan Ring found himself free at the top of the crease and was left to jam one in at 14:15.
Third period play saw the Rock secure the home ice victory early thanks to Gabinien Kioki sharply redirecting an Eric Moreau attempt from just inside the blueline.
The hosts then put the game away at 6:24 when their captain Tyler Schwindt powered his way out front from behind the goal line and had a couple of cracks at it before stuffing it past Sheffield.
The Rapids’ Dominik Godin did add another in the back half of the session as he took a Chase Lefebvre feed on the right side and calmly corralled it before ripping it through McCarthy from the top of the circle for his third of the playoffs.
That proved to be the evening’s final marker as the Rock skated away with the victory.
The teams are back at it Friday in a 7 p.m. start at McIntyre Arena.
NOJHL East Division semifinal
Timmins Rock vs. French River Rapids
Timmins leads best-of-seven series 1-0
Game 1: Rock 6 Rapids 2
Game 2: Friday, April 8 @ Timmins 7 p.m. (McIntyre Arena)
Game 3: Sunday, April 10 @ French River 7 p.m. (Noelville Arena)
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)
Thomas Perry – The Daily Press/Postmedia Network