IROQUOIS FALLS - Brady Clouthier scored six goals and added three assists to lead the Abitibi Eskimos to a 13-6 win over the Powassan Voodoos Saturday night at the Jus Jordan Arena.
In the process, the 20-year-old Arnprior native moved to within one point of the NOJHL scoring lead.
Cody Gratton (27, 34-21-55, 24), of the Cochrane Crunch, was held off the scoresheet in his squad’s 3-2 loss in Kirkland Lake Saturday night, while Clouthier (27, 26-28-54, 33) was setting records against the visiting Voodoos.
Clouthier’s natural hat-trick, scored in a span of 1:36, established a new franchise record for the fastest three goals — besting Yannick Marois’ mark of 3:59, set during the 2001-02 NOJHL season.
“This is probably the first time I have ever scored six goals,” Clouthier said.
“I definitely wasn’t looking for the last couple, but my linemates just found me out there.
“I really want to give a shout out to Trontsky (Ryan Tront) for finding me on the first couple.
“Things just kind of escalated from there.”
Tront, with a goal and four assists, had a pretty fair night himself, as did the third member of the line, Jake Holland, who had four assists in the game.
Clouthier and the Eskimos were looking for a much better effort Saturday night than they had Friday night during a 7-1 loss to the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake.
“We wanted to bounce back today but they (the Voodoos) had been pretty hot coming into the game,” he said.
“It was nice to get a couple of goals early.”
After Clouthier staked the Eskimos to the early 3-0 lead, defenceman Brennan Roy scored the first of his two goals on the night to increase the advantage to 4-0.
A Josh Ibbitson goal, less than a minute later, got the Voodoos on the scoresheet, but Roy’s second of the period made it a 5-1 game before the end of the frame.
The Eskimos extended their lead in the second period, as Blake Cudmore, Tront and Clouthier scored to make it an 8-1 hockey game.
A pair of Kyle Levis goals — the first a short-handed marker — put the Eskimos in front 10-1 before the third period was nine minutes old.
Things then got silly — if they weren’t before — as the two sides combined to score goals at a rapid pace.
Nathaniel McLeod netted a power-play goal to cut the Eskimos’ lead to 10-2, but a Clouthier short-handed goal and a Brenden Locke power-play goal increased the home side’s advantage to 12-2.
Four-consecutive goals by the Voodoos less than two minutes apart, with just under five minutes to play cut the Eskimos lead to 12-6 and left the 399 fans in the Jus Jordan Arena feeling a little bit nervous.
Goals from Jacob Erwin, Aaron Dart, Kyle Moore and Steve Harland accounted for the offensive outburst from the visitors.
Clouthier’s sixth goal of the night ended any hopes the Voodoos might have had about a comeback, however, and made the final score 13-6.
Eskimos assistant coach and general manager Dan Dube was a lot happier with his team’s effort than 24 hours earlier.
“Yesterday we didn’t show up to play and we had that bitter taste in our mouths from last night,” he said.
“We were focused tonight, in all three zones. It is nice to come back with a game like we had tonight after a performance like we had last night.”
Like everyone in the rink, Dube was impressed with Clouthier’s offensive explosion.
“He has just got that touch,” he said.
“That last one, he didn’t have much room on the short side, but that is what goal scorers do. They find a way to get the puck behind the goaltender. He is always in front of the net, finding ways to put the puck in the net.
“He got rewarded tonight and we are happy for him.”
Dube was also pleased to see Roy and Levis pick up a pair of goals each Saturday night.
“That is what happens when you get pucks on net,” he said.
“We got some traffic in front of the net and when you do that, you score goals.”
After a tough loss the night before, there was nothing complicated about the Eskimos’ game plan Saturday night.
“We just wanted to keep the game simple and have the pucks on our sticks more than they had the pucks on their sticks,” Dube said.
“We wanted to limit our giveaways tonight and our special teams were pretty good tonight, too.”
The only blip for the Eskimos was the four-goal outburst they allowed the Voodoos late in the game.
“That is what happens when guys think a little too much about offence,” Dube said.
“(Regardless of the score) we still have to take pride in our defensive game, so we are going to talk about that and make sure they are focused all the time.”
Goalie Ryan Ferguson, making his first start on home ice after being between the pipes for Friday night’s loss in Kirkland Lake, made 34 saves to pick up his first victory in an Eskimos uniform.
Voodoos 16-year-old rookie goalie Jack Ondrovic played all but 1:11 of the game and allowed 11 of the Eskimos’ 13 goals. He made 28 saves and was tagged with the loss.
Matt Young, who was stellar in making 56 saves during Friday night’s win over the Crunch in Cochrane, gave up two goals on three shots and was not able to stay in the game after coming on in relief, due to a groin issue.
Voodoos coach Scott Wray was not able to find too many positives in his team’s performance Saturday night.
“Everything went wrong,” he said.
“It wasn’t our night. There is not much you can say. Maybe it is a good thing, for the boys to get a little dose of reality, come back down to life and go back to work Monday.
“Like I said to the kids, forget about it. If you lose a game 10-1, or 2-1, you still lost the game.
“This team seems to be our kryptonite.”
The last meeting between the East Division rivals saw the Eskimos skate off with a 10-6 win in Powassan.
Despite the loss, Wray had not lost his sense of humour following the game.
“I was joking that we needed Peyton Manning to come through the doors and throw a touchdown pass,” he said.
“I don’t know what it is. We have only beaten them once and they have pummeled us four times.”
ESKIMOS NOTES — The Eskimos were without the service of captain Kevin Walker and forward Ryan Attwood. They are both out with upper body injuries … Both the Eskimos and the Voodoos went 1-5 on the power play … The Eskimos will host the Crunch at the Jus Jordan Arena Tuesday night, before travelling to Cochrane for a game at the Tim Horton Event Centre on Friday night. They will then close out the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a game against the Gold Miners at the Jus Jordan Arena on Saturday night.