NORTH BAY - The Abitibi Eskimos won’t have too many fond memories of their first visit of the 2013-14 season to the West Ferris Arena.
The North Bay Trappers crushed the Eskimos 9-3 in the second half of a home-and-home series that saw Abitibi skated off with a 3-1 victory Saturday night.
The home side turned up the offence during the second period, as they broke open a 2-2 hockey game with a flurry of goals.
“We gave them some opportunities and they capitalized on the opportunities,” said Eskimos coach and general manager Paul Gagne.
“They were goals that could have been prevented, but we didn’t have the best tandem in net tonight.”
Sylvain Miron, fresh off being named one of the NOJHL Stars of the Week, got the start, but he was pulled after the fourth North Bay goal.
That allowed Julien Deschenes to make his Junior ‘A’ debut, but things didn’t go much better for him, as he allowed five goals.
“It was not all their fault, but they certainly didn’t help,” Gagne said.
Blake Peavey, Eric Champagne, Anthony Postiglione and Ryan Demyen found the back of the net for North Bay to counter Brady Clouthier’s second goal of the game for the Eskimos.
Trailing 6-3 following the middle period, things didn’t get any better for the Eskimos in the final frame, as the Trappers added three unanswered goals to make the final 9-3.
Chance Thomas, Eric Champagne and Kyle Baril finished off the offensive outburst for the Trappers.
“First, and foremost, we took too many penalties tonight, way too many,” Gagne said.
“So we were just sitting on their heals and not generating any offence.
“We were playing in the defensive zone. I think we took like six penalties in the second period and you can’t do that.”
The Trapapers went 3-10 on the power play, while the Eskimos were 2-5 with the man advantage.
The two teams had gone to the first intermission deadlocked at 2-2, with Andrew Green and Clouthier scoring for the Eskimos and Peavey and Zachary Shankar replying for North Bay.
Despite Monday night’s defeat, Gagne has not lost faith in his players.
“We know that we are going to come back,” he said.
“We worked hard, but nothing was going in and nothing was going for us tonight. As soon as we would get a little momentum we would get a penalty.
“So that’s the positive. We know we are going to play better on Wednesday (in Sudbury against the Nickel Barons), absolutely.”
Gagne didn’t see anything different from North Bay on Monday.
“The only reason they scored nine is that we weren’t sharp,” he said.
“We had our No. 1 goalie who just had a bit of an off night, which happens, and after that the flood gate was open.
“We put young Deschenes in an it was his first game playing Junior ‘A’ hockey and he learned a lot tonight.”
The Eskimos escaped Monday night’s game without further injury, although defenceman Steven Pettite who was hurt on Saturday night continues to be bothered by his injury.
“He is sore again, with a lower body injury,” Gagne said.
“He is hurting, but other than that, that’s it for injuries.”
In terms of possible suspensions, Gagne and his North Bay counterpart Zane Neily are “under review.”
The two became involved in a shouting match during the second period and were both assessed minor penalties.
Other than confirming that the two were not exchanging early Christmas greetings, Gagne chose not to get into the subject of the words.
The Eskimos will have a practice Tuesday at the Jus Jordan Arena before departing for Sudbury on Wednesday.
“We have a little bit of an ugly taste in our mouths right now, so we are really looking forward to playing the next game,” Gagne said. “The players have a sour taste in their mouths. The kids know. We talked about it afterwards and they know we have got to get ready for Sudbury.”
Following Wednesday’s game in Sudbury, the Eskimos will return home to the Jus Jordan Arena for games on Saturday against the Elliot Lake Bobcats and Sunday against the Blind River Beavers.