Much like the NHL, youth success seems to be the story line for this Timmins Rock (10-15-1-2) team after more solid performances from their affiliate players.

The Rock drew 1-1 with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (12-12-3-2) Wednesday night, and it was Timmins Majors call up Kobe Barrette notching his first NOJHL goal to provide the offense for the home side.

Rock Assistant Coach James Daschuk says he’s happy for all the call ups.

“It’s like we just expect it now. Those guys are fitting in well, they practice with us every day,” he said.

“Their game has come a long way.”

In addition, affiliates Dryden Rivet, Riley Brousseau and Jordan Yaremchuk dressed Wednesday but all have opened the eyes of this Rock staff.

Daschuk says they don’t even think of them as ‘affiliate players’ anymore.

“They play with us so often, they have their own numbers,” he added.

Rivet has been a workhorse the last couple games. Of note, he blocked a shot in the third period Sunday against Powassan, and despite being hurt on the play, he was ready and blocked another one in the same sequence.

On Wednesday, he sprung out of the box and jumped onto a breakaway. He nearly ended it with a second to go in regulation, but McEwen held his ground.

Brousseau, meantime, got the start on the top line Wednesday with Wayne Mathieu and Riley Robitaille.

And Yaremchuk has made three appearances for the Rock this year, all in relief efforts.

While not suited up on Wednesday, Daschuk hasn’t forgotten about the contributions from other Majors players in Cameron Svec, Freddy Leclair-Pouw and Austin Holmes.

In all, nine affiliates have suited up in a Timmins Rock uniform this year.

(Others would be Blane Boissonneault and Cooper Roussy.)

“They’re helping us get through these tough times right now so we appreciate it tremendously,” Daschuk said, “We have to give credit to the Majors’ coaching staff for allowing us to have access to these guys, so we’re very grateful.”

Greg Trudeau-Paquet answered for the Miners in the second period—his NOJHL-leading 22nd goal of the season.

But after that, both goaltenders Tyler Masternak and Cade McEwen shut the door.

Masternak turned aside 43 of 44 shots for the Rock.

Daschuk says Masternak had a “pretty phenomenal” outing, especially coming back from injury.

“He stepped up, had a good game…against a great offensive team,” he said, “I mean, they got the leading scorer in the league so I’m very happy for (Masternak). It looks like he’s finally settling into his spot in town here.”

McEwen stopped 23 of 24 for the Gold Miners.

The Rock are now tied with the Hearst Lumberjacks (11-12-1-0) for 4th in the NOJHL East Division. The two will meet in Hearst Friday night.

24 hours later will be the next Rock home game, Saturday, December 2nd against the Soo Eagles (14-10-0-0).

Puck drop is set for 7:00pm.

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