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GALLERY: Eskimos upset Crunch

COCHRANE - Logan Ferrington made 56 saves to backstop the Abitibi Eskimos to a 5-2 win over the Crunch at the Tim Horton Event Centre Friday night.

“This is probably one of our best all-around efforts since I have been here,” Ferrington said.

“It was a big W for us to get on the road.”

Ferrington made 19 saves in the first period, 24 in the second period and 23 in the third period.

“The key to my success was being able to communicate with my defencemen,” he said.

“I was letting them know whether or not I could see the puck and then just trying to get as much body as I could in front of the puck to make that first save.”

Friday night was Ferrington’s first opportunity to face Cochrane’s run-and-gun offence and he was impressed by what he saw.

“They were kind of shooting from all over the place,” he said.

“Every team has a different strategy and you just have to play to what they are giving you.

“Our defencemen did a good job of keeping everyone away and everything was safe in front of the net. It was a good all around effort.”

Eskimos assistant coach and general manager Dan Dube was pleased with what he saw from Ferrington Friday night.

“That is what we want a goalie for, to make those big saves,” he said.

“We know Cochrane shoots from everywhere and he (Ferrington) got to see a lot of the shots tonight, too.

“I thought our defencemen played well in front of him and kept the front of the net clear, but he made those key saves when he had to and that is what we want in a goaltender. Hats off to Logan for playing a great game.

“He was getting on top of the paint and covering his angles. A lot of guys were missing the net, too.”

Defenceman Joe Olson made his debut in an Eskimos’ uniform Friday night and Dube liked what he saw.

“He makes a good first pass and he is physical,” he said.

“He has only had a week of practice and to go through our whole program in a week is kind of impossible.

“I thought he played a great game and he is just going to get better, as we go along here.”

The Eskimos had no passengers in Friday night’s road win at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

“We played a full 60 minutes tonight,” Dube said.

“All the guys knew what their roles were out there and everybody contributed the way we wanted them to contribute.

“Our role players step up to be role players tonight.”

The Eskimos jumped out to a 1-0 before the Crunch fans had settled comfortably into their seats after the national anthem, as Tristan Salesse put a shot behind Cochrane goalie Brett Young just 45 seconds into the first period.

Dustin Cordeiro got the home side back on even terms eight minutes later, but Cosimo Amore restored the Eskimos one-goal lead just over a minute later.

Jake Holland added what would prove to be the game-winning goal less than a minute later and the Eskimos skated into the first intermission holding a 3-1 lead.

“The key to our good start tonight was getting pucks in deep and getting shots on net,” Dube said.

“We were also patient with the puck, making sure we were giving it to black and not giving it to the guys in the white jerseys.

“We wanted to make sure we got the pucks behind their defencemen and work our forecheck and get shots on net and that is what we did.

“We knew that we had to stay patient tonight and we did stay patient for 60 minutes.

“It is always important to get a lead in a hockey game and after they tied it up at 1-1 we kept things calm on the bench.

“Then we got that big 2-1 goal. It is always good to be ahead of the game, instead of behind the 8-ball. The last couple of games we were behind the 8-ball and it was fun to be on the other side of things tonight.”

Goals by Brady Clouthier and Kyle Levis less than a minute apart early in the second period increased the Eskimos’ advantage to 5-1 and spelled the end of Young’s night.

Ben Auger came on and held the Eskimos off the scoresheet the rest of the way, but the Crunch were unable to solve Ferrington until late in the third period when Jason Berube added a power-play goal to make the final score 5-2.

Ferrington was particularly sharp late in the second period and in the third period, when the Crunch enjoyed the majority of their power-play opportunities — including a five-on-three late in the third period that the Eskimos were able to kill off .

Cochrane coach, general manager and owner Ryan Leonard didn’t think the Crunch played too bad Friday night.

“We outshot them two-to-one tonight and it wasn’t just perimeter shots,” he said.

“We had lots of shots from in close and their goalie made some beautiful saves.

“The start of the second period, it was 3-1 for them and at the start of the second period he made two amazing toe saves 10 seconds into the period, back-to-back.

“Then they went down the ice and scored off of it.

“It just wasn’t our night. We didn’t come prepared and I think we gave them seven or eight quality scoring chances and they scored on five of them. They made us pay for every one of the chances we gave them.

“We can’t blame our goalie but we never got a big save at all early in the game and their goalie outplayed us. That was the difference tonight.”

Even though the Crunch outscored the Eskimos 1-0 following the Cochrane goaltending change, Leonard had no second thoughts about perhaps making the switch earlier in the game.

“Four of the goals he gave up we hung him out to dry,” he said.

“High slot, guy wide open, that’s the way it goes.

“The difference in the hockey game is their big guys came to play tonight and our big guys didn’t. Our big line (Cody Gratton, Josh Racek and Anthony Filoso) was -4 tonight. This time of the year they can’t be -4 at the end of the night.

“That really kills us. They are allowed to have an off night, too, once in a while. They work hard for us every night and you would think somebody else would setp up for us and grab things by the horns, but nobody else did.”

One player Leonard was pleased with Friday night was Dylan Sakatch, the former Elliot Lake Bobcat and Calgary Canuck, who made his debut in a Crunch uniform.

“I was really happy with Dylan,” he said.

“He got robbed three or four times. He played well.

“It was Daniel Stagg’s first game back (since the Christmas break) as well and he played well but you could tell he hasn’t done much the last three weeks. He looked a little slower than usual. It is going to take him a little time to get back in shape.

“I was happy with Filoso on Gratton’s line, as well. He made a beautiful pass to Racek and sent him in all alone on a breakaway and had two other great chances to score.

Young, who stopped 11 of the 16 shots he faced, was tagged with the loss for the Crunch. Auger stopped all 22 shots he faced, to earn the start in net Saturday night when the Crunch host the Blind River Beavers at the Tim Horton Event Centre.

NOJHL NOTES — Gratton, the NOJHL’s scoring leader, was held off the scoresheet for the first time since Dec. 13 against the Gold Miners … Eskimos forward Brenden Locke had an ice pack on one of his wrists following the game, but Dube does not anticipate it is a serious injury … Neither forward Ryan Tront nor forward Ryan Attwood were in the lineup Friday night and they are both likely at least a week away from returning to action as they nurse upper-body injuries … The Crunch will host the Blind River Beavers at the Tim Horton Event Centre Saturday night. The Eskimos will host the Beavers at the Jus Jordan Arena Sunday afternoon.