THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE NORTHERN ONTARIO JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Nickel Barons still perfect

Sudbury Nickel Barons head coach Dave Clancy isn’t one to showboat, but he wouldn’t mind seeing his team get a little more recognition around the NOJHL.

Another win Wednesday night and a perfect 5-0-0 record definitely gives the league something to talk about.

The Barons defeated the Abitibi Eskimos 4-1 at McClelland Arena. The Barons outshot the Eskimos 36- 15, with Eskimos goaltender Marc Audet keeping the game within reasonable reach for the Eskimos.

“People might want to talk about us a little bit,” Clancy said after the game. “Our guys are hard-working and are playing good right now.”

Martin Jolicoeur, who scored a goal in the game, agreed with his coach’s comments.

“We’re a little tired of hearing about (North Bay Trappers and Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds),” Jolicoeur said. “It’s OK though, because it motivates us more for when we play those teams. We’re looking forward to those games on our calendar.”

The Barons had goals scored by four different players in Wednesday’s tilt, again showing that they can put a variety of names in the goal column. Darcy Haines scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season, Jolicoeur, Scott Sirkka and August Jerecki also netted goals for the home squad.

Alex Laino picked up his third win of the season between the pipes.

The Barons’ 5-0-0 record isn’t surprising any of the players.

“We believe in ourselves,” Jolicoeur said. “We’re working hard and playing good hockey.”

The first 20-minutes of action was set at a relatively slow pace. Shots at only 8-4 for the Nickel Barons.

Brandon Windsor put the Eskimos ahead 1-0 with a wrist shot from the hash marks that made its way past Laino at 17:54.

The Nickel Barons, however, answered right back with a goal by Jolicoeur at 18:56. The goal was setup by a nice pass from David Lazarus from within the slot, the pass was received, then sniped past Eskimos’ goalie Audet.

“We’re getting a lot of secondary scoring,” Jolicoeur said. “We’re playing a good all round game.”

The Nickel Barons picked up their pace a bit in the second frame, putting 14 shots on net, while the Eskimos, on the other end, struggled to generate opportunities, only making Laino make six saves in the period.

Barons’ Haines scored his team-leading eighth-goal of the season when his wrist shot found its way through Audet, who seemed to have been surprised by the shot. The goal, which was scored at 6:49 of the period, was assisted by Sebastien Leroux and Cory Vaillancourt.

After 40-minutes of play, the Barons led in shots 23-10, and took a 2-1 lead into the third period.

“Their goalie played amazing,” Jolicoeur said of Audet’s strong play throughout the game. “We controlled the game for the most part but we just have to make best of those scoring opportunities. It’s a bit frustrating when we couldn’t seem to be able to score on (Audet), but he’s only After peppering Audet with shots for most of the third period, the Barons finally scored on the Eskimos goaltender.

On the power play at 13:01, Nickel Barons’ Scott Sirkka scored his first goal of the season with a point shot after the Barons had set up shop in the Eskimos zone.

The Barons finished the game 1-5 with the man advantage.

In the final minute of play in the third period, Jarecki sealed the win for the Barons by scoring his fourth-goal of the season aftyer sneaking the puck in between Audet and the goalpost.

Clancy put the game into perspective after the final buzzer.

“I think it’s a bit of both (of running into a hot goalie and sneaking by with a win),” he said. “We won the territorial battle. We dominated their zone quite a bit, but I don’t think we got ourselves into good shooting positions.

“When you’re in a hurry to get to the net, sometimes it doesn’t work out. (We) have to hold back a bit, try to stay calm and find those better shooting spots.”

The Nickel Barons don’t play again until next Wednesday, when they host the NOJHL’s newest franchise, the Elliot Lake Bobcats (0-3-0) at 7:30 p.m. at McClelland Arena in Copper Cliff

Twitter: @keith_dempsey