Gold Miners blank Eskimos

KIRKLAND LAKE - The Gold Miners gained a measure of revenge on the Abitibi Eskimos Sunday night at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.

After dropping a 4-3 decision to the Eskimos in Iroquois Falls on Wednesday, the Gold Miners skated to a 6-0 victory over Abitibi.

“It was one of those games where we didn’t have it going,” Eskimos coach and general manager Paul Gagne said.

“We gave away three power-play goals. We said not to take unnecessary penalties, but we did and they capitalized on their chances.

“That put us behind the eight ball and we couldn’t recover and get the momentum back. We just didn’t have our A game going, whatsoever.”

The Gold Miners were perfect on the power play, scoring on all three or their opportunities, while the Eskimos failed to score on any of their six opportunities with the man advantage.

“We weren’t disciplined and we took too many penalties,” Gagne said.

“We talked about it, but it was just momentum. We couldn’t get any momentum after that.

“We tried and tried and tried different line combinations, but we just couldn’t get things going.

“In hockey you do have games like this, where you don’t bring your A game and you might squeeze out a victory. That’s what we did on Friday. We didn’t bring our A game, but we found a way to win.

“Tonight, we couldn’t find that way.”

Austin Rust scored a pair of goals to pace the attack for Kirkland Lake, while Kyle Bishop, Mathieu Lecompte, Tanner Lafrance and Steven Babin each added a goal.

Gagne and the Eskimos knew that they were going to be entering a hornets’ nest Sunday after they took two points from Kirkland Lake on Wednesday.

“They really didn’t do anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

“They just capitalized on their chances and we couldn’t. We did apply pressure, but we were not able to capitalize.”

The Eskimos never really got untracked against the Gold Miners and were only able to generate 20 shots against Kirkland Lake goalie Jeremy Pominville, who earned the shutout.

Brody Wagner, of the Eskimos, made 27 saves while taking the loss.

Being a glass-is-half-full kind of person, Gagne was still able to find a few positives from Sunday night’s loss.

“The positive is that the players understand that during the course of a year you are going to have games where you just can’t get it going,” he said.

“We have been playing some excellent hockey, but it happens. We worked hard, but there were no tic-tack-toes. We were just a little out of sync.

“When you have those kinds of games it is hard to catch up. We couldn’t get her going, but the positive is that we understand that we just can’t play like that all the time and I am positive that the players are not going to stay in this mode.

“We are going to have a good week and get ready for Saturday against Sudbury.”

The Eskimos host the Nickel Barons at the Jus Jordan Arena, their final game prior to the Christmas break.

Sunday’s loss leaves the Eskimos two points behind the Espanola Rivermen in the battle for third place in the NOJHL. Both teams have played 32 games.