The Abitibi Eskimos currently hold top spot in the NOJHL’s Eastern Division heading into Friday’s tilt against the North Bay Trappers.
The home game will be played at the Archie Dillon Sportsplex, a building that is both unfamiliar and familiar to the Eskis at the same time.
“We’re a regional team. Our home rink is in Iroquois Falls, but our fan base is the whole surrounding area. It’s really no different than playing at the Igloo, besides the fact that some of our fan base has to travel to the game,” said Scott Marshall, Eskis team president. “A lot of our players are from the region and have played a lot of games there in the past, but it is an adjustment.
“It’s a bit of disadvantage in the fact that we’re used to our own building, our own dressing room, so it’s kind of like a road home game.”
North Bay owns a 2-4 away record and will also have a bit of a disadvantage when the puck drops. The Trappers will be trying to improve upon their 5-5 record.
“The Trappers aren’t familiar with Archie Dillon, so maybe it evens out. We know that the fans will be cheering for us,” said Marshall.
The Eskis currently hold a four-point lead on the third-place Trappers heading into the first of four games to be played in Timmins this season. The Trappers also possess a game-in-hand on the Eskis.
“It’s always important to win in front of our home fans,” said Marshall. “Hearing the crowd behind you is why we play the game.”
Currently riding a five-game home winning streak, the Eskis are looking to continue that trend, and hoping to improve upon their division best record of 7-4-0.
“We’re undefeated at home, so we’re trying to keep that record intact,” said Marshall.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for those 16 and under. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
”I honestly think having the game here is a great thing. They’re here in Timmins four times this year, two at Archie Dillon and two at the Mac. I think the team is trying to give back to the fans by having these games here,” said Fred Salvador, recreation facilities supervisor for the City of Timmins.
Eskis forward Marc-Alain Begin currently sits tied for the league lead in scoring with Sudbury Cubs forward Jordan Carroll. Both are at 33 points. Carroll has the slight edge in goals with 16 through 13 games, while Begin has found the back of the net 13 times through 11 games.
Begin is currently riding an 11-game point streak heading into the contest.
The Eskis return to the friendly confines of the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois for a Saturday night encounter with the Blind River Beavers.