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Eskis cut down Beavers

The Eskis pulled the teeth of the Beavers with a potent offensive attack and speedy fore-check on Saturday at the Jus Jordan Arena.   More than 450 spectators took in the 6-2 victory by the Abitibi Eskimos against the Blind River Beavers in Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League action.   “Every win is humongous right now because we want to stay ahead of North Bayand we want that home ice advantage,” said Paul Gagne, head coach and general manager of the Eskimos.   Eskis forward Preston Lacasse notched his fourth goal in two games, while Marc-Alain Begin recorded two goals. Begin had gone three games without registering a goal, but the Eskis star forward has recorded 39 points in his last 11 games.   The Eskis offence got a boost from five different weapons, as Lacasse, Begin, Troy Columbus, Nicolas Fournier and Jake Ryan all found the back of the net. Karl Spenard and Ryan Mercier each had two assists in the contest.   “Playing against a team like that is tough because you never know with them, but honestly a 6-2 win isn’t bad,” said Lacasse. “I feel like we could have scored a lot more.”   It was Eskis goalie J.P. Fecteau who kept the team in the game especially when the Beavers peppered him with 20 shots in the second period. The Beavers did figure out Fecteau in the third period, scoring on a wrap around and on a play in front of the net.   “J.P. played a strong game,” said Gagne. “He held his ground. You didn’t really see him that much, which is a good sign. The last goal on him was a nice goal with the player cutting across, going against the grain. It was a nice goal. I call that a goal in any league.”   Late in the third period, Shane Snow of the Beavers ploughed through Eskis forward Delmer Moses as he crossed into the offensive zone. It appeared as though Snow left his feet when the collision occurred, which drew a retaliatory response from Begin, who was assessed a double minor on the incident.   “He’s (Moses) a tough kid,” said Gagne. “The referee should have taken control of that situation, that’s why our players wanted to take control. It could have gotten ugly. The refs could have made a call and there would be no fist-a-cuffs or retaliation from our players. He was forward and he came from the blue line to hit Delmer. It seemed deliberate, because he skated six to eight feet towards Moses, but we stayed focused. The guys showed discipline tonight.”   The third-place North Bay Trappers have won their last two games and sit only four points back of the Eskis for second in the Eastern Division. Home ice advantage is awarded to the second-place team at the end of the regular season. Both teams are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.   “The mood is good in the dressing room,” said Lacasse. “We beatSudburyon Wednesday. That was a big two points there, so I’m confident we’ll stay ahead ofNorth Bay. I’m not too worried.”   Gagne said, “ We played well enough to win the game and we’re going to win more games if we keep playing like we did. We’ve played better games before, but it’s not easy playing against a team that’s only won seven games. We’ve got a lot of players that are playing right now.”   The Eskis embark on a three-game road trip starting Friday against the Soo Eagles. The Eagles currently hold second place in the Western Division with a 31-10-4 record.   “The guys are feeling good,” said Gagne. “We’ve got a big road trip ahead of us here, with three games in three nights. The weekend is going to be a little test.”