The North Bay Trappers had trouble containing the Abitibi Eskimos’ power play and that proved the difference atMemorialGardens, Sunday night.
The Eskimos (19-14-4) scored their first three goals with the man advantage on their way to a 5-2 win in front of 532 fans to move six points ahead of the Trappers (18-16-0) in the NOJHL’s East division.
“It’s a little disappointing we came a little flat footed,” said Trappers head coach Tom McCarthy. “We get a few penalty troubles and our discipline gets a little offside.”
Abitibi’s Justin Kord scored the only goal of the first period on the power play to give the Eskimos a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes.
After the Trappers’ Djordje Leposavic tied the game 1-1 6:43 into the middle period, the Eskimos got two more power-play goals from Jake Ryan and Delmer Moses, beforeMarc-Alain Begin added an even-strength marker to give Abitibi a 4-1 cushion after two periods.
“We don’t come out, we are not playing the game, we are not forcing the puck up the ice, we sort of sat back a little bit and let them bring it to us,” McCarthy said.
“When you stand and try to play goal all over the ice, the puck will beat you any time.”
Trappers captain Brad Gehl made it 4-2 with 8:14 remaining, before the Eskimos’ Richard Therrien iced the win with a late goal.
McCarthy chalked up the slight change of momentum in the third period to desperation.
“You don’t see penalties called, you see the momentum of the game change maybe a little,” he said. “By the time we got it going it was too late.”
The Trappers outshot the Eskimos 41-29, with Abitibi goalie JP Fecteau making 39 saves for the win, while Mitchell Knight made 24 saves in taking the loss.
The Trappers hadn’t played since beatingBlindRiver8-0 Jan. 7, something McCarthy thinks could have been a factor in the teams’ sluggishness.
Their schedule tightens up this week when they host the East Division’s first-place Sudbury Cubs (24-9-3) Friday at 7:30 p.m. before the Soo Eagles (24-7-3) visit Sunday.
“Every game is winnable, we have beaten everybody,” McCarthy said.
His plan — “Be ready from the start. It’s only 60 minutes, I can do the math, it’s about 15 minutes each.”