Eskimos struggles continue

IROQUOIS FALLS – Frustration is mounting as the Eskimos dropped their second game of 2013 5-1 to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners on Saturday night at the Jus Jordan Arena.

The Gold Miners edged the Abitibi Eskimos the night before in Kirkland Lake 5-4 in overtime.

“We played a simple forecheck and it was good,” said Eskimos head coach and general manager Paul Gagne. “Then all of sudden we have individuals out there not taking there man. It was individual mistakes with no reason for it. Not at this time of year. Not happy about it.”

The Eskimos started the game the way they planned with a heavy, relentless, simple forecheck that pushed the Gold Miners deep into their zone.

However, as the game went, it got more and more difficult for the Eskimos to maintain the gamplan.

It started at the backend for the Gold Miners who found a way to minimize the time the Eskimos had at setting up in the offensive zone.

“It’s starts from the back end, but our backend can be only as good as our frontend being dedicated to playing defence as well,” said Gold Miners head coach and general manager Marc Lafleur. “We’re a team that doesn’t give a lot of shots and we really worked hard at limiting their quality attempts and it paid off this weekend.”

Shots were in favour of the Eskimos who threw 28 shots at Kirkland Lake netminder Chris Komma, however, most of those shots came from low percentage areas of the ice such as the along the boards and from bad angles.

Jeremy Laux got the nod in net for the Eskimos for the second night in a row, as fellow netminder Jackson Winkler is nursing a lower body injury.

“We set up properly then all of sudden we shooting from the boards,” said Gagne. “It doesn’t make sense. I don’t understand it.”

Abitibi went 0 for 6 on the powerplay and gave up a shorthanded goal, while Kirkland Lake were 1 for 3.

The Gold Miners eliminated the shooting lanes to limit the Eskimos ability to execute when chances presented themselves.

“We could say we played well, but they didn’t execute as well as they could,” said Lafleur. “We didn’t get caught with too many guys down low in their end.”

The Gold Miners own the Eskimo over seven games this season posting a 6-1 record.

“Most of the games were very close,” said Lafleur. “I think most games came down to a bounce or two and that was the difference especially on Friday. Yes we’ve had some success, but at the same time it’s a war no matter where we are in the standings and it is a war everytime we play each other.”

Abitibi was assessed 20 minutes in penalties, while Kirkland Lake spent 26 minutes in the sin bin.

It’s obvious these teams don’t like each other as both clubs dropped the mitts on two occasions.

“Look at the size of our team and look at the size of their team,” said Gagne. “We should be finishing our checks. It’s tough right now and I don’t like it.”

Former Porcupine Quills forward Ryan Wildman was the lone goal-scorer for the Eskimos, recording his 14th goal of the campaign at the 10:54 mark of the second.

“It’s definitely aggravating,” said Wildman. “Everyone is trying hard, but we have to just regroup and get right back at it. There was certain times where it seems like we were outplaying them then the puck ends up in the back of the net. We just have to regroup fast after a goal and just keep going at them.”

Gold Miners forward Kyle Bishop led his team with two goals, while teammates Royce King, Jean Francois Sylvestre and Joey Ftoma each had two points.

“I’m glad we have two days off to regroup here before practice Tuesday,” said Gagne.