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Jr. Trappers move into 1st with win over Gold Miners

Jr. Trappers forward Brennen Dubchak goes to the net during first period action against the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. Photo courtesy The North Bay Jr.

Jr. Trappers forward Brennen Dubchak goes to the net during first period action against the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners. Photo courtesy

The North Bay Jr. “A” Trappers (17-3-2-3) are standing tall in first place in the NOJHL, following a 4-1 win over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (13-11-2-1) Friday night.

Nearing the Christmas break, Jr. Trappers head coach Tom McCarthy says he has a goal in mind and that’s to be in top spot through the break.

“I think all of us in that dressing room believe that we could be first place at Christmas and it’s going to take a lot of work,” he said, “We still have a couple of games left before we look past it and I think that’s our accomplishment, this first half of the season is to make sure that we find ourselves in a position to at least be barking right there for first place.”

A contributing part to being in top spot is the play on home ice. This marks the sixth straight win on home ice for the Trappers, something McCarthy contributes his recent success on work done in practice.

“We’re being very diligent on working on some areas in practice and we’re working on it until we get it,” said McCarthy, “We’re probably still going to be working on it right up until Christmas and then probably the first thing we work on when we get back to be reminded.”

The last time the Trappers lost on home ice was October 7, a 3-2 loss to the Elliot Lake Bobcats.

“It’s very important that you establish ourselves on home ice,” said McCarthy, “I think that when we lost that game against Elliot Lake at home, it was a wide eye-opener for all of us in the sense that you should never lose on home ice and it’s the advantage point, you play half your games here, you need to establish yourselves throughout the season so that other teams get that idea when they come in here, it’s going to be tough to play, it’s going to be tough to win and you want to have them thinking that part when they get into the playoffs so it’s something we want to continue to establish as the year goes on and make it very difficult to come into North Bay to play hockey.”

The defense helped keep starter Greg Dodds focused for most of the work as the Gold Miners out shot the Traps 30-27.

“I think were collapsing very well and playing with a little desperation in our end zone, starting to separate them from the puck and letting them have a second whack or a third whack, it’s still going to happen cause the other team’s going to be that aggressive and want to go but I really think were doing a better job being on the right side of the puck in our end zone.”

The Trappers established pressure quite well in the early going and after a good cycle, a loose puck came out to Brennen Dubchak, who put it past Chris Komma at 5:02 for a 1-0 Trapper lead.

At 17:04, a break for the Gold Miners as an Ethan Strong shot squeaked under the pads of Dodds. The puck sat loose in the crease and Dustin Jasseau was the first to pounce on it to tie the game.

In the second, the Trappers physical play picked up and at 3:04, it caused a turnover, which Trevor Hunt sent cross-crease to a streaking Stephen Langford, who one timed it by Komma to reclaim the lead.

The game was a little more back and forth for much of the second and third period, but as the clock struck under three minutes and the Gold Miners searched for an equalizer, a flip pass up ice by Cole Klippenstein reached a hustling Connor Gilmartin. Komma came out to challenge the puck but Gilmartin won the race and poked it in.

Only 42 seconds later, the Trappers iced it with a goal by Corbin Bean, a one-on-one battle in the slot with the Miners goaltender.

The Trappers take a week off and play the Blind River Beavers next Friday, December 14. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m. at Memorial Gardens.

Game Notes

-The attendance was 589.