IROQUOIS FALLS - Four goals in the third period gave the Barons a 4-0 win over the Eskimos.
It was a battle of attrition through 40 minutes at the Jus Jordan Arena on Saturday night until the Sudbury Nickel Barons solved Abitibi Eskimos’ netminder Jackson Winkler is his second start in two nights.
He was pulled early in the third period in favour of backup Jeremy Laux who turned aside 12 of 14 shots he faced.
Barons netminder Alexander Laino gave his side a chance to win, even when it seemed goals were going to come at a premium early on.
Laino blocked all 30 shots he faced.
Goals were hard to come by in the first two periods, as both clubs traded plenty of chances, but it was the veteran Barons who struck first.
“We count on our older guys to keep us in the game,” said Barons head coach Dave Clancy. “I thought the first two periods we had a lot of good chances, but we couldn’t capitalize. We stuck to the gameplan and we finally capitalized.”
Half of the Barons’ goals came on the powerplay, following sustained offensive zone pressure.
Barons defender Brett Dusick recorded two goals in the contest on shots from the point, while Giovanni Foschia and Michael Rouleau each found the back of the net.
At times, the Eskimos seemed disorganized and struggled to hold the offensive zone.
The Eskimos had a man-advantage five times in the contest, but the Barons positioned themselves in the diamond formation, which proved to difficult for Abitibi to crack.
“As the season comes along even further, the powerplay is going to be more important,” said Clancy. “Come playoff time, powerplay and penalty kill will important.”
With the win, the Barons maintain their hold on third place (48 pts.), while the Eskimos continue to fall in the standings, as they currently sit tied for fifth place (26 pts.) with the Blind River Beavers.
A month and a half remains in the Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League season.
The Eskimos start a three-game road swing Feb. 8 when they take on the last place Elliot Lake Bobcats.