The North Bay Trappers finally solved the Abitibi Eskimos, but that’s not how anybody drew it up.
Matt Salituro scored his hat trick goal in overtime to help the Trappers beat the Eskimos for the first time this season, a 6-5 win in front of 521 fans at Memorial Gardens that nearly got away.
Leading 5-2 with 7:39 remaining, Trappers forward Justin Schneeberger was handed a five-minute major for charging when he ran over Abitibi goalie J.P. Fecteau.
The Eskimos responded with three power-play goals in less than two minutes to tie the game. All five Eskimos’ goals were scored on the power play.
“We had the game under control late in the period with a three-goal lead and unfortunately, with whatever call was made there, we put ourselves in that position for the potential of that call to be made,” said Trappers head coach Tom McCarthy. “Regardless if we agree it’s a five-minute call or a two-minute call, it was a penalty and it put us in a wayward position.”
McCarthy said the Trappers have to be more “diligent” in shutting down the power play of the Eskimos (12-6-1). Richard Therrien, Justin Kord and Nicolas Fournier scored the three goals to tie it up, while the Eskimos got their first two goals on the power play from Kord.
Salituro, with three, Danny Desrochers, with two, and Ryan West scored for the Trappers (11-9-0), who earned their first win against Abitibi in five meetings this season.
“It’s nice to break the bubble against them, but to give them a point in that fashion, I think it would have been a little sweeter even if it ended up 5-4,” McCarthy said. “It’s a tribute to Matty Salituro, he played a big game from the beginning to the end and you sort of felt he would be the guy getting the goal, the way the game was going. Fortunately, it worked out.”
On the game-winner, Salituro worked himself in alone on Fecteau and beat him to the blocker side along the ice.
“Obviously, it’s an extraordinary feeling, having not beaten this team yet,” he said. “It should never have been going to overtime, in my opinion, but they got a few there on that penalty.
“But it’s definitely great getting an overtime win. It’s great to get it done, especially against that team.”
The Trappers outshot the Eskimos 34-33. Gianluca Palmieri made 28 saves for the win.