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Gehl scores winner in overtime, Trappers up 2-0

Two games in two nights, two overtime wins, 2-0 series lead.   Captain Brad Gehl crashed the net for the game-winner 4:30 into overtime, his third goal of the game, as the North Bay Trappers rallied from a three-goal deficit for a 5-4 win over the Abitibi Eskimos in Game 2 of their NOJHL East semi-final at Memorial Gardens, Sunday.   Less than 24 hours earlier, 330 kilometres North on Highway 11, Danny Desrochers had scored in overtime to give the Trappers a 6-5 win in Game 1.   The Trappers will return to Iroquois Falls for Game 3, and thanks in large part to Gehl, they will do so with a 2-0 series lead.   On the winning goal, Gehl outmuscled his man to keep a clearing attempt in at the blue line, then fired the puck on net and followed up looking for a rebound. He tipped a loose puck out of mid-air past Abitibi goalie J.P. Fecteau and celebrated with a Bobby Orr dive before the red light came on.   “It was just a complete blur,” Gehl said. “I just shot it on net, went in hard and tipped it over top of him and the goalie grabbed me and I just sort of jumped.   “It was the best feeling I’ve had this year, just amazing. All the boys coming and jumping on me like that, it was just a great feeling.”   Gehl’s goal capped a three-goal rally for the Trappers, who trailed 4-1 with less than five minutes left in the second period after Marc-Alain Begin darted his way through the North Bay neutral zone to fire a laser off the post and in on the power play.   It was the Eskimos’ third power-play goal of the game. Richard Therrien and Delmer Moses scored to give Abitibi a 2-0 lead after the first period and Nicholas Fournier also scored a power-play marker in the second.   The Trappers got three power-play goals of their own, first from defenseman Djordje Leposavic in the opening minute of the second period. Trailing 4-1 as the period was winding down, Gehl buried a backhander from in tight on the power play to cut the lead to 4-2.   In the opening minute of the third period, the Trappers were again on the power play when Scott Pawson made a nifty spin-a-roonie feed to Gehl on the doorstep to cut the lead to 4-3.   Desrochers nearly dangled through for the equalizer 20 seconds later, before the puck squirted to the point and Cory Sellers blasted in the tying goal, setting the stage for a nail-biting final period and overtime.   “This was probably one of the biggest wins we could have — trailing at home and nothing was going our way,” Gehl said. “We went in the room and said, ‘Boys, we’re not giving up. This is our game.’ Then we come out in the third and come back and win it in overtime.”   The Eskimos were short-staffed, with only 14 skaters finishing the game, including affiliate player Ryan Kerr, who nearly ended the game with a nifty move to break into the clear in the dying minutes.   North Bay outshot the Eskimos 47-22, including 35-10 over the final two periods and overtime as they wore down the Eskimos.   Goaltender Stephen Klein made 18 saves for the win, while Fecteau stopped 42 shots. McCarthy was happy to see his team battle back, a rally capped by the team’s six-foot-three, 220-pound leader.   “He is a dominant player on the ice and naturally, his size indicates that, but he does have some presence around the net and pretty strong hands,” McCarthy said of Gehl, whom he coached last season in Trenton and reacquired in December. “He always goes to the tough areas and one more time tonight, he did. That’s what a captain and a leader does, no question.”   McCarthy said it’s important to give the Eskimos credit for coming hard and producing three more goals on the power play and the Trappers still have plenty of work to do.   “No relief whatsoever,” McCarthy said. “We keep the foot on the pedal and keep going forward. We saw their team come out tonight a little more desperate because they were down and they threw everything at us early and we were back on our heels . . . We can’t let up.”   Game 3 is Thursday in Iroquois Falls, with Game 4 scheduled for Friday at Memorial Gardens.   Game 1 Danny Desrochers scored his second goal of the game 2:55 into overtime to give the Trappers a 6-5 win over the Eskimos at the Jus Jordan Arena, Saturday night. Brad Edwards, Brandon Janke, Brad Gehl and Matt Salituro added goals for the Trappers, who also scored three times on the power play.   Richard Therrien, with two, Justin Kord, Nicolas Fournier and Jacob Kord scored for Abitibi.   Klein earned the win in net.