NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Release Date: Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Abitibi takes game 7 vs. Elliot Lake
IROQUOIS FALLS – The Abitibi Eskimos are off to the semifinals in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.
A Ryan Kerr unassisted goal with 14:16 remaining was the difference as the Eskimos rallied with two goals in the third period to pull out a 3-2 victory over the Elliot Lake Bobcats Wednesday evening in the seventh and deciding game of their NOJHL quarter-final series at Jus Jordan Arena.
With the triumph Abitibi wins the hard-fought best-of-seven affair 4-3 and now advance to take on No. 1 seeded Soo Thunderbirds in NOJHL semfinal action. Kirkland Lake and Espanola will tangle in the other league semifinal.
Elliot Lake got off to a good start notching the game’s opening goal as Brad Holman connected at 5:40 p.m.
Abitibi responded eight minutes later as Brennan Roy tied it with a power play marker bagging his first of the postseason.
The Bobcats answered right back just 15 seconds later thanks to a Mike Gambino effort putting the visitors back on top.
It stayed that way through a scoreless middle session as both Alex Bitsakis in the Elliot Lake net and Abitibi goalkeeper Brody Wagner kept opposing shooters at bay.
The Eskimos struck early in final frame netting the equalizer 80 seconds into the third as Brady Clouthier finished off the work of Roy and Ryan Tront to tie it a 2-2.
Kerr then buried the game-winner at 5:44 supplying an unassisted tally on what would be the final marker of the series.
Both goaltenders were exceptional on a night that saw the Bobcats outshoot the Eskimos 42-40 with Wagner picking up the win and Bitsakis suffering the setback.
In all, five games in this well-played series were decided by one goal, including the final three contests and two in overtime.
The schedule for the Sault Ste. Marie – Abitibi semifinal is expected to be announced Thursday while the Gold Miners – Rivermen series will commence Friday in Kirkland Lake at 7:30 p.m. at the Joe Mavrinac Community Complex.
QUARTER-FINAL SERIES D
No. 4 Abitibi Eskimos vs. No. 5 Elliot Lake Bobcats
Abitibi wins best-of-seven series 4-3
Game 1: Abitibi 2 Elliot Lake 1
Game 2: Elliot Lake 5 Abitibi 4 (OT)
Game 3: Elliot Lake 7 Abitibi 1
Game 4: Abitibi 6 Elliot Lake 2
Game 5: Elliot Lake 5 Abitibi 4
Game 6: Abitibi 3 Elliot Lake 2 (OT)
Game 7: Abitibi 3 Elliot Lake 2