TIMMINS – Although by all accounts the Eskimos dominated the Gold Miners for most of the game, but the result was still tough to take.
The Kirkland Lake Gold Miners triumphed 4-2 over the Abitibi Eskimos at the Archie Dillon Sportsplex in the first of two contests this season scheduled at the old Golden Bears arena.
Heading into the first of back to back home games, the Eskimos were sitting three points out of last place and 12 points behind the Gold Miners who occupy third place in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
From the get go it was all Eskimos.
The first period was largely dominated by Abitibi as the Eskimos oppressed Kirkland Lake with several odd-man rushes in the first 20 minutes.
“We came out flat-footed in the first and gave up eight odd-man rushes, which is not customary for us,” said Gold Miners head coach and general manager Marc Lafleur. “But at the same time you’ve got to give them credit they came out storming.”
Peter Poulin-Roy was responsible for the Eskimos first goal 11:53 into the game in front of the large crowd at the sportsplex.
The Eskimos rode the momentum into the first intermission.
Defenceman Ryan Kerr picked up his first goal of the season making it 2-0 for the Eskimos 13:13 into the second period with Ryan Wildman registering the helper.
At times Abitibi looked like they were maintaining the momentum in the second, which tends to be a difficult period for club this season, but two costly penalties swayed to tide in favour of Kirkland Lake.
Newest Eskimo Adriano Mungioli was penalized for cross-checking at 15:09 and interference at 18:31, which resulted in both Kirkland Lake goals.
Powerplay goals from Joey Ftoma and Jordan Briand drew the Gold Miners even with the home team heading into the second intermission.
“We weathered what they threw at us shift by shift and we were able to capitalize on a few extra chances that they weren’t able to,” said Lafleur.
Eskimos coach and general manager Paul Gagne said, “The one penalty he had, the interference, that was a good penalty in my books. The kid is driving to the net, he has to take his man and he takes the penalty.”
Through two periods the Eskimos dominated the shot total firing 24 shots at Gold Miners netminder Chris Komma who increased his win total on the season to 10 and maintained his sub 3.00 goals against average rating.
“I’m proud of the fact that we adjusted,” said Lafleur. “It’s a long game and we were patient. Abitibi played well defensively, but tonight our goaltending really helped us.”
Kirkland Lake forward Everett Thompson beat Eskimos goalie Marc Audet at the 5:19 mark of the third to register the game winning goal when it was all said and done.
Gold Miners forward Royce King, who earlier in the game had toppled over Eskimos netminder Marc Audet, added the insurance goal with less than four minutes to play in the contest.
“I thought we dominated this game and what do we get for results is a loss,” said Gagne. “It’s unreal. I don’t know what to say. It’s tough, it really is.”
The Eskimos will take on the Sudbury Nickel Barons on Saturday at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.