IROQUOIS FALLS - Halloween is still a few days away, but Erik Robichaud’s tricks were a treat for Eskimos fans to watch this weekend.
The high-scoring centre recorded his second hat-trick in as many days Sunday to lead the Eskimos to a 5-1 win over the Blind River Beavers at the Jus Jordan Arena Sunday afternoon.
In fact, the line of Robichaud, Brady Clouthier and Ryan Tront was on fire.
The trio registered 11 points and scored all five the Eskimos goals in Sunday’s Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League contest.
That victory, combined with Saturday’s 5-4 overtime win over the Elliot Lake Bobcats (see page B2) appears to have healed all that ailed the franchise.
“There is an awesome feeling in the room right now after this weekend,” said Eskimos assistant coach and general manager Dan Dube.
“We got four points in the last two games and we were really supporting each other out there.
“We took care of our defensive zone and the score, 5-1, demonstrates that.”
Dube, like everyone in attendance Sunday afternoon and Saturday night, was impressed with the Robichaud, Clouthier, Tront unit.
“They are really rolling,” he said.
“It started off yesterday and they kept it going again today.
“They worked the puck really well down low, nice give and go passes.
“They really got things going for this club this weekend.”
Robichaud and Clouthier have enjoyed success with a number of different wingers this year, but Tront brings something special to the line.
“Ryan Tront is playing some awesome hockey right now,” Dube said.
“He’s moving the puck well. He is playing well in the defensive zone and he is really clicking with Clouthier and Robichaud right now.
“We are really pleased with the way Ryan has been playing lately, and that whole line.”
Tront is the type of player who is effective playing on any line and in any zone.
“Four points is a big weekend for us, coming off a two-game losing streak,” Tront said.
“That four points feels really good and it feels really good to be playing with two guys like Robichaud and Clouthier.
“We are really starting to click out there. We are getting the puck in deep and we are all moving fast, so it is really nice.”
Like the others who have manned the wing with Robichaud and Clouthier before him, Tront is enjoying the chance to play with two special players.
“Their chemistry together has been like that since Day 1,” he said.
“They always know where the other person is going to be, whether it is in front of the net, or on the break-out.
“I really feel I am starting to work my way into that and hopefully we can make that a three-way chemistry train.”
Given the success the Robichaud-Clouthier-Tront line enjoyed on the weekend, it would be tough for the coaching staff to break them up.
“I think I bring some speed to the line and I always like to go to the net hard,” Tront said.
“Hopefully that can open up some ice for those guys, since they have that great chemistry.
“I have never been much of a goal scorer but I get the odd goal here and there.
“I like to get on the board with the helpers, but any way I can help out it is great.”
The Eskimos spotted the Beavers a 1-0 lead, with Francis Desforges scoring a first-period goal.
Robichaud tied it 1-1 with a short-handed goal and Tront netted a power-play goal to put the Eskimos in front 2-1 before the end of the opening period, however.
Neither team could find the back of the net during the second period, but the Eskimos struck for three third-period goals — two from Robichaud and one from Clouthier — to make the final 5-1.
Beavers coach Doug McEwen clearly was not pleased with his team’s lack of consistency.
“We had spells during the game where we dominated, but our power play was pretty well nonexistent today,” he said. “We had a lot of chances, but we didn’t capitalize on the opportunities.
“Their goaltender (Brody Wagner) played well for them today.
“I thought our chance to win was on the power play, but we didn’t capitalize on it today.”
The Beavers went 0-5 with the man advantage and gave up a short-handed goal, while the Eskimos were 1-3 on the power play.
“When they got the second and third goal some of our guys dropped their heads,” McEwen said.
The Beavers were coming off a 5-4 loss to the Gold Miners in Kirkland Lake Saturday night — a game in which they played well for most of the contest.
“It was the same situation,” McEwen said. “We were in the hockey game for two periods and then we lost our way a little bit in the third.
“We lost momentum. Whether the guys switched off in the dressing room, I am not sure, but my focus with the players is to try and make sure we maintain the same level, or maybe bring a little bit more effort to win the final 20 minutes.
“That’s what it comes down to, win your last 20 minutes and you can potentially win your hockey game.
“Last night and again today, I think the same thing happened in both rinks.
The Beavers, according to their coach, were too focused on other issues instead of their jobs.
“I think a lot of our guys get frustrated,” McEwen said.
“They tend to look at different excuses to blame, whether it is referees, or linesmen, just different things.”
Wagner stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced to pick up the victory for the Eskimos.
Dylan Knox, of the Beavers, blocked 30 of the 35 shots the Eskimos fired his way to take the loss.
The Eskimos will embark on a two-game road trip next weekend, with stops in Espanola on Friday night and Elliot Lake on Saturday night.