Eskimos thump Beavers

IROQUOIS FALLS - Defenceman Brennan Roy scored three goals and added an assist to lead the Abitibi Eskimos to an 11-2 win over the Blind River Beavers at the Jus Jordan Arena Saturday night.

“The first one, the puck just kind of came out to me and I just tried to fire it on net, there were some guys going to the net,” Roy said.

“The second one, we were on the power play and (Brady) Clouthier gave me a nice pass and I put it towards the net.

“The third one, we broke out with speed and Lockey (Brenden Locke) gave it to (Blake) Cudmore and Cudmore fed it to me and I got off a good shot.”

It has been some time since Roy scored three goals in a game, a rarity for a defenceman — even in a blowout.

“I think it was atom, actually,” he said.

“It has been a while.”

The defenceman, who is in his second year with the Eskimos, admitted that he was starting to think about it a little bit after he scored his second goal.

“I was just kind of hoping the rest of the game would go good,” Roy said.

“It did go through my mind, though.”

Roy felt the Eskimos were pretty well in control of the game from the first puck drop to the final buzzer, although they did have a few mental lapses.

“We would get a little too confident and once they would start pushing us in our own end, we would start making a few mistakes,” he said.

“We were developing some bad habits there at the end, but we did all right.”

Saturday night’s blowout victory was a marked change from the high intensity of the squad’s previous six games.

“It was different, because the last few games have been against some of the top teams in the league, but we just tried to get everything down in their zone and stay out of ours,” he said.

“We tried to stick to the program.”

Centre Brenden Locke, who scored three goals and added a pair of assists, and winger Brady Clouthier, who netted two goals and added two assists, also had big games for the Eskimos.

Defenceman Nick Minerva, rookie blue-liner Michael Rancourt and forward Ryan Attwood also scored for the Eskimos.

Rancourt and forward Ryan Tront, who had three assists, were playing their first game Saturday night since returning from the injury list.

Eskimos assistant coach and general manager Dan Dube, who ran the bench in the absence of coach and GM Paul Gagne, was happy to see his squad end its two-game losing streak.

“It was very important to get back in the W column,” he said.

“It was really nice to get Tront back into the lineup. We have a little bit of depth on our first and second lines now.

“I was really impressed with how our team played tonight. We stuck to the program.

Dube was also impressed with Rancourt’s first game back on the blue-line.

“He was stellar back there,” he said.

“He finished his checks. He was a presence every time he was on the ice. He made a smart play on his goal. It is nice to have him back, also.

“He and (defence partner Ryan) Kerr had some good communication out there.”

The return of Tront, who played on the Eskimos No. 1 line last season with Clouthier and Erik Robichaud, gives the Eskimos a lot of balance up front, allowing the coaching staff to mix and match players on the Top 3 lines.

“The best thing about it was they were all playing program tonight,” Dube said.

“They were focused on the game plan. They got their opportunities and when they got their opportunities, they scored.

“We have got some great offensive talent and it will be nice to get some chemistry here with Tront and Clouthier again.

“They haven’t played together in a while, so it was nice to see them out there together tonight.”

Roy also made a positive impression on the coaching staff Saturday night.

“He has a great shot from the point,” Dube said.

“You could see that tonight, I think he had two from the point and one from down low.

“He moves it around quick and he makes that good first pass. He got rewarded tonight with three goals.”

Dube was pleased to see that, with a few minor exceptions, the Eskimos pretty well stuck to the game plan Saturday night.

“They followed the program, right from the first puck drop,” he said.

“That was our main focus, from our pregame meeting and the guys stayed focused throughout the game and we came up with the W and that is what matters.”

It was another frustrating game for Beavers coach Don Gagnon, who saw his team drop a 6-2 decision Thursday night in Cochrane and suffer a 9-0 setback in Kirkland Lake, prior to Saturday night’s loss at the Jus Jordan Arena.

“Things probably went the way they were supposed to, given the fact that we only have four D and then another one (captain Cody Nicoll) went down tonight,” he said.

“We have been putting forwards on the back end and having people killing penalties who typically shouldn’t be killing penalties. They are not ready to kill penalties, yet.

“We have got guys on the power play who shouldn’t be on the power play, yet, so it is a real cast of characters right now.

“They play hard, but not always smart and it costs us.”

If anything, the three-game road trip illustrated just how short the Beavers are on healthy bodies right now, although the journey through Cochrane, Kirkland Lake and Iroquois Falls can be taxing on any team.

“On this type of trip, even with a 23- or a 24-man roster fatigue sets in at some point and once fatigue sets in, then the mental errors just multiply and then panic sets in, then it is just like one giveaway after another.

“Once it flares up it is hard to get control again.”

The Eskimos jumped in front 5-0 in the first period and by the end of the second period they have increased their advantage to 10-1.

“Our morale isn’t too bad, given the fact that we are having some people come in and some reinforcements, but they just can’t get here soon enough,” Gagnon said.

The Beavers lineup was bolstered for the trip by the addition of forward Alex Hulford, the ex-Kirkland Lake Gold Miner who started this season with the Mattawa Blackhawks, as well as a couple of players from the Elliot Lake Wildcats.

“It did give us some numbers, Alex and Kyle Huhn who we also picked up (from Mattawa), those two guys give us a little bit more of an offensive threat,” Gagnon said.

“They give us some speed and hockey IQ.

“So, we did have a little bit more depth than we would have had, had we come up here the way we were.”

Eskimos goalie Chet Tooker made 13 saves while earning the victory.

Zach Mills stopped 11 of the 20 shots he faced for the Beavers to take the loss, before giving way to Nick Kazmierczak, who stopped 23 of the 25 shots fired his way.

ESKIMOS NOTES — The Eskimos went 2-8 on the power play, while the Beavers were 0-5 with the man advantage … The Eskimos were missing forward Carmeron Etherington (serving the first game of a two-game suspension picked up in Sudbury Wednesday night) and defenceman Jamey Lauzon (upper body injury suffered in Sudbury) … Official attendance was 461 … The Eskimos will return to action on Friday night when they host the Blackhawks at the Archie Dillon Sportsplex in Timmins. They will then host the Powassan Voodoos at the Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls Saturday night. Game time for both contests is 7:30 p.m.