Whether it was a championship hangover or not, the Timmins Rock staggered and stumbled to begin the 2023-2024 Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League regular season.
The Rock reeled to a 3-6-1 record through its first 10 games of this season. The goal-tending was uncharacteristically sub-par, the forwards were not clicking and the team lacked sync.
But since the 3-6-1 start, the Rock has put up a record of 7-0-1 over its past eight games and will take a record of 10-6-2 into play this week. Included in the 7-0-1 stretch is a recent two game trek to Sault Ste. Marie where the Rock upended the Soo Eagles 4-2 and took a hard-earned point from a 5-4 overtime set to with the Soo Thunderbirds.
The 10-6-2 record for the reigning NOJHL champions from Timmins is good for second place in the East Division behind the pace-setting Powassan Voodoos and just ahead of the third place Hearst Lumberjacks.
Rock head coach and general manager Brandon Perry admitted that his team’s 3-6-1 start to the season was rather unsettling. There were also injuries to key players such as defensemen Kyle Trottier and Tenzin Nyman.
But Perry told Hockey News North that it was a matter of studying and watching extra video and returning to basics.
“You put the work in and it pays off,” Perry said simply.
Besides better overall team play, the Rock has been solidified with the acquisition of high scoring forward Mason Svarich from the Alberta Jr. Hockey League. The 20-year old Svarich has been a true lamplighter for the Rock with 10 goals, three assists, 13 points in such seven games.