IROQUOIS FALLS – The Eskimos went 1-1 this past weekend with a win versus the Bobcats and a loss at the hands of the Trappers.
The Abitibi Eskimos hosted the Elliot Lake Bobcats on Saturday night, defeating the NOJHL’s last place team 5-3 on the strength of two goals from Zach Innes.
Abitibi Eskimos forward Innes took a tumble following a collision with Elliot Lake Bobcats forward Henry Berger at centre ice early in the third period of the Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League contest.
Innes gingerly returned to the bench, while Berger was assessed a kneeing penalty.
About 150 seconds later, Innes took a pass from forward Ryan Tront, sliding the game-winning goal past Bobcats goalie Thomas Graham 8:01 into the third period.
“I just went hard on the forecheck,” said Innes. “We stuck to the system, I stayed high, Tront made a nice pass to the slot and I put it in.”
Innes added an empty net goal with 11 seconds left to give the Eskimos their first victory of of 2013, which drew cheers from the crowd at the Jus Jordan Arena.
“It’s nice to get a win,” said Innes. “We haven’t done it in while. It’s nice to back in the win column.”
Jackson Winkler came up with big stops when the Eskimos needed it the most, turning aside 37 of 40 shots.
“We worked hard tonight,” said Bobcats head coach and general manager Ryan Leonard. “It wasn’t for a lack of effort. We had lots of scoring chances and we saw both teams battle tonight.”
Rookie Aaron Kerr recorded two goals and three points playing on the top line with centre Ryan Wildman and winger Peter Poulin-Roy.
“I think we got a little bit of team spirit going today,” said Eskimos assistant coach Marc Cashmore. “This week we had a good talk with the guys. It’s a team sport and we all have to do the program. As soon as one doesn’t than that’s when things fall apart. Usually we have one bad period, but tonight we had three good ones.”
Dustin Cordeiro scored twice for the Bobcats, while Tyler Newsome added a single marker.
“It could have been anyone’s game,” said Leonard. “It was a game of breaks tonight and that’s how she went tonight. We just got to keep plugging away day by day and eventually it will get better.”
Innes scored twice giving him seven goals on the year, Kerr recorded his 16th and 17th of season, while Wildman registered his 14th goal of the campaign.
“After the talk this week, it’s a team effort. We have to get the garbage goals to get going,” said Cashmore.
Abitibi travelled to North Bay for a tilt against the Trappers and were handed a 4-1 loss after being outshot 49-41.
With the win, the Trappers maintain a hold on second place, two points behind the Soo Thunderbirds.
Poulin-Roy was the lone goal-scorer for the Eskimos in the loss.
Brennen Dubchak recorded two markers with Devan Turcotte and Trevor Hunt each picking up a goal for the Trappers.
Winkler got his second start in as many nights, turning aside 45 of 49 shots, while counterpart Greg Dodds earned his 19th win of the season stopping 40 of 41 shots he faced.
The Eskimos next game is Feb. 1 at the Archie Dillon Sportsplex versus the first-place Soo Thunderbirds.
Eskimos notes: This past weekend the Eskimos powerplay went 2 for 12. In 2013 the Eskimos are 1-4. Rookie Aaron Kerr has recorded 17 goals in 31 games this year for top spot on the club.