MATTAWA - Andy Williams’ goal 2:24 into the second overtime period lifted the Blackhawks to a 4-3 win over the Abitibi Eskimos Sunday afternoon at the Mike Rodden Arena.
The overtime loss allowed the Eskimos to collect three of a possible four points from their two-game weekend road trip.
The Eskimos Killer Bs line of Brenden Locke, Brennan Roy and Brady Clouthier accounted for two of the three Abitibi goals, with Locke being the trigger man on both.
One night after combining for 14 points in a 9-4 win over the Voodoos in Powassan, the trio was again at the top of their game.
“They are doing some magic right now,” said Eskimos coach and general manager Paul Gagne.
“It’s beautiful to see. They are playing some great hockey. They are competing. They really are competing. They are not just scoring goals. They are forechecking. They are finishing their checks. They are backchecking. They are playing great defence. They are making things happen.
“I wish our Bottom 6 forwards would have taken a look at them and done the same things. It is not just scoring goals. They were competing.”
Unfortunately, the Eskimos third and fourth lines struggled Sunday afternoon.
“I was really happy with the play of our Top 6 forwards and our defence today,” Gagne said.
“Our defence played well, but we had some players … I don’t know if it was too cold here … but they weren’t skating. They weren’t sharp and it cost us three goals.
“We need them to really support us and that is what we got last (Saturday) night. We ran four lines and everybody did their assignments, but today there were three assignments that weren’t done and we got scored against. It was the bottom six forwards and they can’t do that. It puts pressure on the Top 2 lines … and they came through. Our Top 2 lines came through today, especially our No. 1 line. The came through and scored some big goals to put us into OT.”
The Eskimos fell behind 2-0 in the first period.
Jimmy Philbin beat Eskimos goalie Logan Ferrington eight minutes into the game to put the home side in front 1-0.
Tanner Bowditch added a power-play goal before the end of the period.
“Sure we had to play catch-up hockey, but we have been playing pretty good hockey and there was a lot of hockey left,” Gagne said.
“We were down 2-0 but we tried not to be frustrated or change the program. We just stayed with it and next thing you know it was a tie game.”
Locke finally got the Eskimos on the board 5:50 in the second period when he beat Blackhawks goalie Joe Horner for a power-play goal.
Philbin’s second goal of the game, a short-handed marker scored 10 minutes later, restored the Blackhawks’ two-goal advantage before the end of the second period.
The Eskimos cut the lead to 3-2 eight minutes into the third period, when defenceman Joe Olson netted his second goal of the season, an unassisted marker.
“He pulled us to within one goal with a shot from just over centre ice,” Gagne said.
“He took the shot and it hit the plexiglass as the goalie was going behind the net to stop the puck and it bounced into the net at like a 45-degree angle.
“That got us back on track. We were really happy with that one.”
Locke’s second goal of the game, also a power-play effort, got the Eskimos back on even terms less than two minutes later and forced overtime.
Neither team could score during the first overtime session as they played four-on-four, but it took Williams just 2:24 of the second session with the squads playing three-on-three to net the game-winning goal.
Horner made 37 saves to pick up the victory for the Blackhawks, while Ferrington turned aside 39 of the 43 shots he faced and was tagged with the loss.
Gagne was once again pleased with the play of Ferrington, who was solid for the second game in a row after missing the previous game with an illness.
“Logan did his job back there again, definitely,” he said.
“He is feeling much better and he had a great game last (Saturday) night and today, too.”
The secret to the Eskimos’ success in Powassan Saturday night was a quick start.
They jumped out to a 6-1 first period lead and never looked back.
“That line (Locke, Roy and Clouthier) was just magic on the ice,” Gagne said.
“They really were incredible. The chemistry was just there and they were playing well. They were finding each other. They were taking good shots on net. They were making tick-tack-toe plays. It was just incredible.
“And we got good contributions from the second line and the third line. The fourth line was doing its assignments. It was just great and it made a big difference.
“Our defence was moving the puck, we were putting the puck forward. We stayed on the forecheck all evening.”
Roy (four goals, one assist) and Clouthier (five assists) both had five-point nights for the Eskimos against the Voodoos, while Locke (one goal, three assists) picked up four points.
Ryan Attwood, Tristan Salesse, Jake Holland and Patrick Picard also scored for the Eskimos.
Steve Harland had a pair of goals for the Voodoos, while Nathaniel MacLeod and Jake Staples each scored once.
Ferrington stopped 37 of the 41 shots he faced to earn the win, while Jack Ondrovic, of the Voodoos, made 13 saves and was tagged with the loss.
ESKIMOS NOTES — The Eskimos were once again without the services of forward Ryan Tront (upper-body injury) and defenceman Ryan Kerr did not dress for either road game … After picking up three points on the weekend, the Eskimos now trail the Cochrane Crunch by four points for second place in the NOJHL’s East Division standings. The Crunch have three games in hand, however … The Eskimos will travel to Cochrane for a game with the Crunch on Friday night, before returning home to host the Elliot Lake Wildcats at the Jus Jordan Arena Saturday night.