Canadians close out series with loss to Timmins

Timmins Rock forward Cameron Kosurko uses his body to shield the puck away from Canadians blue-liner Avery Chisholm along the boards to the left of the Rayside-Balfour net during the second period of Saturday night’s NOJHL game at the McIntyre Arena. Kosurko’s first-period power-play goal proved to be the game-winner as the Rock defeated the Canadians 4-1 to take five of the six games in their season-opening series. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Turns out special teams, as well as puck luck, are just as important in the COVID-19 era as they are in a typical NOJHL campaign, as the Rayside-Balfour Canadians found out at McIntyre Arena in Timmins on Saturday night.

The host Rock scored three times on nine chances with the man advantage, and had a couple of fortunate bounces, en route to a 4-1 victory over the Canadians, who had hoped to build momentum from a win on home ice, their first of the season, two days earlier.

Rayside defenceman Joel Mongeon scored his first goal of the season and netminder David Bowen made 25 saves as the Canadians wrapped up their season-opening six-game set against Timmins with a record of 1-4-0-1.

Rock forward Riley Robitaille scored the game’s only even-strength marker with 2:49 gone in the first, jamming a rebound home off a pad save by Bowen. Assists went to Nicolas Pigeon and Tyler Schwindt.

The hosts made it a two-goal game with a power-play tally at 8:30, after a Rayside rearguard appeared to knock a loose puck past Bowen during a goal-mouth scramble. Sudbury Wolves draft pick Cameron Kosurko received credit, with an assist going to Zach Smith.

Josh Dickson, who also supplied timely scoring for Timmins earlier in the series, hit the score sheet again with 3:14 elapsed in the second stanza, when a slap pass hit a Canadians defender, changed direction and slid in on the opposite side. Smith collected another assist.

Rock netminder Tyler Masternak got in on the offence when he sent a puck up ice for Dickson, who in turn found Derek Seguin waiting in front of Bowen’s net to chip in his team’s fourth of the contest at 16:02.

The Canadians got their own power play clicking in the third, when Mongeon snapped a shot from the left circle and past Masternak on the shot side at 8:46. Nick DeGrazia and Brady Maltais were credited with assists.

Final shots were 29-19 in the Rock’s favour.

With the first round of regular-season games complete, the Canadians and their rivals will await word on the next portion of their schedule, which could consist of six games against a new opponent, should approval be granted by their respective health units.

Twitter: @ben_leeson

Rayside-Balfour Canadians forward Oliver Smith lifts his right leg to allow a point shot to get through while screening Timmins goalie Tyler Masternak at the McIntyre Arena Saturday night. The Rock netminder was able to stop the shot, however, and went on to backstop the home side to a 4-1 victory, closing out their six-game season-opening series. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

Rayside-Balfour Canadians captain Brady Maltais and Timmins blue-liner Eric Moreau watch as Joel Mongeon’s shot bends the twine behind Rock goalie Tyler Masternak during the third-period of Saturday night’s NOJHL contest at the McIntyre Arena. The power-play marker was the lone shot to beat Mastenak on the night as the Rock went on to post a 4-1 victory. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

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