TIMMINS – Tyler Masternak turned aside all 20 shots he faced to post his 17th career Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League shutout Sunday as he backstopped the Timmins Rock to a narrow 2-0 triumph over the Rayside-Balfour Canadians in a tightly-contested goaltender’s battle at McIntyre Arena.
The match-up, featuring two of the top netminders in the league, in the Rock’s Masternak along with the Canadians’ David Bowen, was scoreless after one period with Timmins holding a 10-6 edge in the shots on goal department.
Moving to the middle stanza, Rayside-Balfour had a great opportunity to open the scoring during a lengthy two-man advantage midway through the contest, but they could not solve the stingy Masternak, who stood tall in shutting the door.
Once back at full strength, the Rock had a pair quality chances of their own to break the goose egg, but it was Bowen’s turn to make some big saves, making a couple of point-blank stops from in close.
Picking up a late power play in the second, the home side got a fortuitous bounce to go ahead as Brendan Boyce walked into a one-timer from the point that clipped off the stick of a Canadians defender in front, helping it change direction, and flip into the open left hand corner to make it 1-0 Timmins heading into the second intermission.
It stayed that way until the late going when with Bowen out for an extra attacker, the Rock’s Eric Moreau rushed the puck out of his own zone, past the centre ice redline and then lifted a soft backhander that slid into the open net with just under a minute to play to round out the scoring.
Bowen was nearly as solid in defeat, allowing only the unfortunate bounce to elude him as he finished with 26 stops in suffering the narrow setback.
With the result, Timmins improved to 4-0-0 on the season while Rayside-Balfour slipped to 0-3-1.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again Thursday in a 7 p.m. at Chelmsford Arena on HockeyTV.com.