The North Bay Jr. “A” Trappers (30-7-3-3) let slip a two goal lead in the third, but Beau Orser scored an overtime goal for a 4-3 win over the Sudbury Nickel Barons (26-15-0-1) on Friday night.
Connor Gilmartin, Samuel Blanchet and Corbin Bean scored second period goals for the Traps, in a wild couple of minutes.
Darcy Haines scored two goals for the Barons, including a late one in the third period before Andre Comtois sent it to overtime with a goal of his own.
“(We were) excellent for about 56 minutes,” said Trappers head coach Tom McCarthy about his teams performance.
“This team can be explosive, they can score quick goals and can come at any time if you don’t play simple hockey. We stopped in the last four minutes, getting the puck out, virtually passed it to their defense man twice and both times, consequently, the puck came back at our net and went in. Those kind of things are unacceptable and that’s something that we need to be a little more diligent and know what time of game it is and not giving pucks away in those situations but otherwise, I thought we played a pretty good 56 minutes.”
It remained scoreless after the first period, as what McCarthy described as the teams “feeling each other out” and that there “wasn’t really a lot of physicality.”
“You could see the difference in the game,” McCarthy said comparing the first two periods, “We were putting pucks at the net, but not high quality shots and we weren’t getting traffic and we were allowing him to see the puck.”
“The second period,” he continued, “Once pucks went in the net, you saw the intensity from both sides elevate tremendously, and especially from our side. We started getting the puck deeper and getting on top of them faster and they were coughing up pucks and giving us an opportunity.”
Gilmartin opened the scoring at 8:23, jumping on a puck that took a bounce up front after a point shot went wide. Laino was out of position from it and the Trapper forward had the open cage.
Haines tied it 58 seconds later, a wrister after a hard working shift in the offensive zone that paid off to try and get the momentum Sudbury’s way.
Blanchet got the lead back only 47 seconds later and Bean gave the Trappers the two goal lead just 39 seconds after that, both goals courtesy of work in front of the goaltender.
The Trappers carried the lead into the third, but as the time started ticking away and it was the last four to five minutes, McCarthy says his team started to cave in.
“We weren’t strong on pucks,” he said, “We weren’t winning foot races, we were almost playing a little nonchalantly in the sense that their intensity increased, ours went down and a couple pucks go by our net.”
Haines scored his second of the game at 16:59, a snap shot that went top shelf on goaltender Greg Dodds and 20 seconds later, an uncontrolled rebound goes to Comtois, who tied the game up.
“Fortunately, late in the game, we turned it back up again for the last 45-50 seconds,” said McCarthy of a late surge by the Trappers to try and avoid overtime, a department where Sudbury came in undefeated thus far this season.
“Fortunately, their player lost the stick, he thought the smartest thing was to do was jump on the puck and unfortunately, that’s a delay of game,” McCarthy said of a late-game penalty to the Barons’ Mathiew Lecavalier, “It gave us the man advantage that we carried into the overtime that, obviously, worked on our behalf.”
Orser’s OT winner was scored 53 seconds in, as he found net up high on the door step. It capped off a great week for the 20-year old, after being named NOJHL’s First Star of the week with his seven assist performance against Abitibi last week.
“You could see his dynamics offensively, those are quite obvious,” said McCarthy, “His intensity and his level of competing is as superior as anybody I’ve ever coached at this level of hockey and his intensity to make his teammates better, he sees the ice very well, makes big hits. He plays about six foot four, even though he’s five foot eight and there’s a lot of confidence in his game, he brings a lot of maturity to our dressing room and he also brings some big leadership and he thrives in those situations like tonight and obviously, that’s why he gets into those situations, because he can handle them and obviously came through large tonight for us.”
The Trappers now play the Abitibi Eskimos in their next three contests. The Eskis will finish off their three-game home stand tomorrow night against Elliot Lake, before traveling to North Bay on Sunday afternoon.
The first two games didn’t turn out well for the Eskis, as they lost 11-3 to the Traps and then 17-1 against Kirkland Lake. McCarthy is treating the three game span as a mini-playoff series.
“We have to give them the respect, regardless of how the outcome of their games have been lately," he said.
"I’m sure there’s circumstances where they’ve had sicknesses or injuries or things of that nature, where they haven’t had a full squad for the last few games and we can’t look at it like that in any way. We gotta look at what we can do for ourselves and work on some of our things that are necessary and it’s very difficult to beat the same hockey team three times in a row, regardless if it’s playoffs or not but we are going to focus at this and look at this as a little playoff series against the same team and try to conduct ourselves properly to accomplish those three wins.”
The game on Sunday starts at 2:00 p.m.
-The attendance was 606 on "Home Depot" night. Fans received a free Home Depot toque upon entry.
-Dodds made 35 saves, while Alex Laino turned aside 28 shots in the loss.
-This 30th win puts the Trappers ahead of their 29 win total from last season, and now guarantee themselves to finish at least second in the NOJHL standings. The second place Soo Thunderbirds are four points back of the Trappers and have a game in hand.