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Dubchak leads Trappers past Eskis

Face wash! Trappers forward Connor Gilmartin (#11) gets a glove in the face. Photo courtesy The North Bay Jr.

Face wash! Trappers forward Connor Gilmartin (#11) gets a glove in the face. Photo courtesy

The North Bay Jr. “A” Trappers (23-6-3-3) continued their dominance over the Abitibi Eskimos (12-19-0-2), although it didn’t come easy in a 4-1 win on Sunday afternoon.

Brennen Dubchak scored twice, while Devan Turcotte and Trevor Hunt added power play markers for the Trappers.

The Trappers are only two points behind the Soo Thunderbirds for first overall, while the Eskis remain in fifth spot, two points up on Blind River.

Greg Dodds came into the game alternating wins and losses in his last five starts. He has now won two straight, making 40 saves—including 24 of them in the third period alone—for his 19th win of the year. Peter Poulin-Roy was the only one to solve Dodds in the contest, a shot Trappers head coach Tom McCarthy says his goaltender may want back.

“It was not one that goes in 99 out of 100 times,” he said, “It was very unfortunate, I thought we played pretty well defensively. I thought we were a little sketchy offensively, even though we got 49 shots on goal. I didn’t think we were creating enough traffic in front of the net and we happen to be skating with the puck away from the net, into the corners a lot today and not putting the puck at the net as often or at the right times but that comes a little bit with timing and not playing for a week."

"it gets a little different when you practice it five days in a row and it’s tough to keep that attention to that sharpness," he continued, "But it’s something that we have to obviously make sure that were taking the time to do that in practice so that when we are in these situations, one game in every seven days, then we have to get sharper in practice, but all in all, pretty good effort.”

Jackson Winkler turned away 45 shots in his second start in two days for the loss, dropping his record to 5-5 on the year.

The Trappers still have 13 games left on the season, four of which are against the Eskis, who have been out scored 18-9 in the season series. The first is on February 16, but then they play three games in a row near the home stretch of the season.

"It’s very difficult to beat the same team in a short period of time, that many times in a row, very difficult,” said McCarthy, “So it’s going to take a lot of attention to the small, little things for us to be able to compete when you’re playing the same team, and also, we’re using those four games as a playoff series, so we’re going to be like as if we’re playing Abitibi in the first round. We’re using those games as a clump and see how we fare amongst them. The way the season runs, we have a great opportunity with nine remaining home games, four road games going before the playoffs start, we’ll just see how everything unravels, it’s a matter of how other teams do as well but we’re in a good spot right now.”

“Games are winding down and that makes wins even harder to come by,” added Dubchak, “But we stuck to our game plan and good things happened.”

There was no scoring in the first period, so when the Trappers started the second on the power play, Turcotte scored his fourth goal in four games, a snipe only 33 seconds in to give the Trappers the lead.

“It was vital. We were waiting for that to happen in the first period,” said McCarthy, “Then it looked like we came out and scored a couple of nice goals actually and really good hockey goals and I think we sat on our hands a little bit and let the other team come to us a bit at that point and that’s what allowed them to get a couple more puck at the net and score one and again, it was just as important in the third to get that first one.”

Dubchak’s first goal of the game came just over a minute later. He had his stick on the ice, in the blue paint and Samuel Blanchet’s pass from the half boards found his stick and it was a two goal lead.

Poulin-Roy answered at 7:56, a hard wrist shot from the left side that Dodds got a lot on, but not enough as the puck rolled over the goal line.

Hunt had a couple chances on the power play in the third and at 8:34, his blast found the back of the net to restore the two-goal lead.

With both teams exchanging chances in the third period, Dubchak’s second goal of the game was a gift. A completely out of position Winkler could only watch as Dubchak put it in the gaping net at 16:18 to round the scoring out.

The Trappers next game is Friday, February 1st when they travel north to take on the Kirkland Gold Miners.

Game Notes

-The attendance was 543.

-Cole Klippenstein recorded a three-point afternoon, notching three assists.

-Hunt also had three points, adding two assists on top of his goal.