IROQUOIS FALLS - Logan Ferrington made 29 saves — including 15 during the first period — in his first NOJHL start to help the Abitibi Eskimos earn a 6-1 win over the Powassan Voodoos Saturday night at the Jus Jordan Arena.
Ferrington was especially sharp in the first half of the opening frame, as the Voodoos held a territorial advantage.
“I just wanted to get the cobwebs out early and get back in the swing of things,” said Ferrington (1.63 goals against average, .943 saves percentage), who was obtained by the Eskimos from the London Nationals, of the GOJHL, during the Christmas break.
“I wasn’t really nervous. Back home where I was playing it was the same kind of atmosphere.
“I was just trying to keep my head in the game and make the first save, then go save by save, reacting to make the next one.”
Ferrington spent the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons with the Lambeth Lancers, of the SOJHL, and had solid seasons (1.48 and 1.59, .953 and .949) there, as well.
The 19-year-old London native likes to pattern his game after Carey Price, of the Montreal Canadiens.
“I am more of a butterfly goalie,” Ferrington said.
Thanks to his quick glove hand the Eskimos escaped the first period tied 0-0 with their East Division rivals.
It didn’t take long for the Eskimos to take full advantage of the opportunity their new goalie provided, as Brenden Locke beat Voodoos netminder Matt Young 1:56 into the second period.
A Ryan Tront power-play goal less than four minutes later increased the home side’s lead to 2-0.
Jake Holland added a pair of power-play goals 1:02 apart late in the middle frame to send the two sides to the dressing room for the second intermission with the Eskimos up 4-0.
Eskimos assistant coach and general manager Dan Dube liked what he saw from his team Saturday night.
“We had a little three-game losing streak at the end of 2014, but we came out strong here in 2015,” he said.
“We stuck to the game plan from the first puck drop. The first period we were a little sluggish, but that’s to be expected after the break. We kind of thought that was going to happen, but we were strong in the second and third periods.”
Dube agreed the play of Ferrington was a big factor in the first period when the Eskimos were still trying to get their legs under them.
“Whenever you have your goaltender making that big key save for you it always gives you some momentum on your side.
“Logan played a great game for us. He made the key saves when he had to and the guys fed off of it for sure.”
Ferrington was not the only player Dube singled out for a little extra praise.
“(Patrick) Picard takes a lot of pride in his faceoffs in practice when we give him time to work on one-on-one stuff,” he said.
“He takes a lot of pride in his defensive zone play and in his faceoffs.
“And the best compliment we can give a player like Joshua DeJulio is that when we don’t see him out there he is doing his job, not making any mistakes. He has been playing really well and we are happy to have him.”
Dejulio may have been “invisible” to his coaches, but any Voodoos forwards entering the Eskimos zone when he was on the ice certainly saw more of him than they would have liked.
“It feels awesome to get a victory,” the rookie Eskimos defenceman said.
“We were thinking about the losing streak during the Christmas break, so it is nice to get it off our minds with a win. This is a huge confidence booster and hopefully we can built off it.”
“We kept things simple tonight. A key to our game, as defencemen, is that we want to get the puck up to our forwards quickly and then join the rush.”
DeJulio, a text-book stay-at-home defenceman, pick up an assist in Saturday night’s game and now has 11 points on the season.
An incident between the two Holland goals may prove costly for the Eskimos, as Nicolas Proulx of the Voodoos drove Eskimos forward Ryan Attwood into the boards in the Powassan end with a check from behind.
Attwood’s linemate Tront immediately jumped Proulx and the two exchanged punches before being sent to their respective dressing rooms.
Proulx was assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind, a game misconduct, a five-minute major for fighting and a second game misconduct.
Tront received a two-minute minor penalty for instigating, a five-minute major for fighting and a game misconduct.
The incident occurred 35 seconds after Voodoos coach Scott Wray was banished for abuse of officials.
That infraction came 45 seconds after he had been cited for an unsportsmanlike minor penalty as he took issue with Nathaniel MacLeod being called for goaltender interference.
Despite his emotional exit from Saturday night’s contest, Wray felt his team did not really play that badly.
“They (the Eskimos) were a little bit flat at first, but there is something about playing here that just … I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it,” he said.
“(Ferrington) definitely played really well. (If we could have gotten a goal early) it definitely could have been a different game. He looked sharp in net.
“Their power play … it doesn’t help with me taking a bench (penalty) and then handing them a goal.
“Their power play is very good in this building. Their coach has got them moving that puck so well.
“It is tough when you get down here, because it is tough to climb out of it.”
The last time the Voodoos visited the Jus Jordan Arena Eskimos forward Brady Clouthier scored six goals and added three assists, but Powassan did a much better job of keeping him in check Saturday night.
“He is a great player,” Wray said.
“He still found ways to get his points tonight. Good players do. (Steve) Harland did.
“We contained him a little bit. When we went onto the bus after the last game, we looked at the game sheet and we couldn’t believe it, but I am going to blame that all on coaching. You have got to be able to shut a guy down and acknowledge that right away.”
Voodoos captain Aaron Sullivan, a Timmins native, was also sent off in the third period for abuse of officials.
Attwood suffered an upper-body injury on the play and did not return to the ice.
Clouthier extended the Eskimos lead to 5-0 with less than five minutes remaining in the third period.
Harland, the Voodoos’ leading scorer, ruined Ferrington’s bid for a shutout in his first game as an Eskimo 34 seconds later, but the Eskimos got that one back when Locke netted his second of the night to close out the scoring at the 18:45 mark of the third period.
ESKIMOS NOTES — The Eskimos were 4-8 on the power play Saturday night, while the Voodoos were 0-3 with the man advantage … Official attendance was 343 … The Eskimos begin a string of five-straight road games when they travel to Kirkland Lake Tuesday night for a game against the Gold Miners at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex. Their next home game will be on Sunday, Jan. 18, when they host the Blind River Beavers at the Jus Jordan Arena for a 2 p.m. start.