SAULT STE. MARIE - The Eskimos are down two games to the Thunderbirds, following a 7-5 loss Saturday afternoon in the Soo.
Darcy Casola and Brandon Warmington helped fuel the Thunderbirds in Game 1 and 2, as both skaters registered 11 points through both games.
But it was Warmington who was the star of Game 2, netting four goals in the contest.
Warmington’s four goals overshadowed Eskimos forward Justin Holiday who recorded a third-period natural hattrick in the loss.
Shots were even through the opening 20 minutes, but it was the Thunderbirds who struck first.
Daniel Pymaki potted the Thunderbirds’ first goal, which chased Eskimos starting netminder Jeremy Laux from the net in favour for 20-year-old Jackson Winkler.
However, the change didn’t seem to have an effect on the Soo’s momentum, as the Thunderbirds struck for two more goals within four minutes of the goalie change.
Warmington and Derek Battagin each potted goals within that span.
A tripping penalty by Nick Fountain taken at the 12-minute mark of the first gave the Soo a man-advantage leading to Warminton’s second goal of the contest.
Eskimos call up Marc Dube who played for the Kapuskasing Flyers of the Great North Midget Hockey League this season got Abitibi on the board early in the second, beating Thunderbirds netminder Joel Horodziejczyk at the 1:42 mark.
Dube linked up with Wyatt Trumbley and Ryan Tront on the play.
Eskimos agitator Nick Fountain helped cut into the Soo lead just over two minutes later, scoring unassisted to make the score 4-2.
Defensively, the Eskimos were able to subdue the Thunderbird attack in the second period.
Through two periods, the Eskimos were outshooting the Thunderbirds 23-22.
Things got interesting in the third period.
Warmington completed the hattrick 1:48 into the frame and Adam Ritchie gave the Soo their sixth goal of the game less than five minutes in.
However, Eskimos forward Justin Holiday picked up the natural hattrick in the third period within a span of eight minutes.
Holiday’s third goal came shorthanded, with Ryan Kerr picking up a helper on the play.
Warmington added his fourth goal of the game with one second left in regulation, scoring on the empty net.
The two clubs will back at it on March 23 for Game 3 at the Jus Jordan Arena.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.