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Abitibi Eskimos play world-beaters with 3-2 overtime win against Sault by Richard Buell

No matter what some of their teammates were trying to do, to throw this one away, Ryan Tront, Brady Cloutier and Brenden Locke weren’t having any part of it.
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No matter what some of their teammates were trying to do, to throw this one away, Ryan Tront, Brady Cloutier and Brenden Locke weren’t having any part of it.

The Eskis top line, a makeshift trio since team scoring leader Erik Robichaud was down in Sarnia, took control of the game in the first period and skated away with a well-deserved 3-2 overtime win against the suddenly-vulnerable Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds – the nation’s third-ranked Tier II Junior A team going into the weekend. The T-Birds were thumped 5-2 by the 14th ranked Kirkland Lake Gold Miners the night before, and, considering the fact they likely had to endure a slow drive back to the Sault in something closed to blizzard conditions, it wasn’t exactly a time for celebration. The Eskis were full-value for the close win over the T-Birds. Outshot for most of the game, Brody Wagner made some key saves in the second and third periods, and the Eskis survived a rash of second-period penalties – including a double minor to Shane Hiley, and skated to a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. Brady Clouthier, who had assisted on the first two Eskis goals, both scored by Tront, scored the winner just 44 seconds into overtime, sending the crowd of 466 into spasms of near-delirium. It was a celebratory night in other ways for the upwardly-mobile Eskis – their victory came on a night when Iroquois Falls and the rest of Northern Ontario was remembering and honouring the sacrifices made by Canadian soldiers, sailors and airmen during the First and Second World Wars, the Korean conflict, and most recently in the Balkans and Afghanistan. Major Bill McCarthy, of the 792 Air Cadet Squadron that bears his name, dropped the first puck of the game, and the Air cadet band played a rousing rendition of O! Canada – and thumped the big bass drum and blared on trumpets throughout the game. Iroquois Falls Branch 70 of the Royal Canadian Legion was official game sponsor, and Air Cadets were present throughout the evening with their trays of poppies. Game officials were Referees Cory Hofferd and Dan Clermont, and Linesmen Chris Gauthier and Stewart McLeod, called a good game, and were roundly razzed at times by the crowd – but none of the razzing for their calls came close to the avalanche of boos they received when it was announced that the officiating crew had won the 50-50 draw for the night – they shared a jackpot of $550.50. The Eskis next “home” game is November 15 (Friday) at the McIntyre Arena in Schumacher.       CUTLINE Major Bill McCarthy of Royal Canadian Air Cadet #792 Squadron handles the opening faceoff at the game between the Abitibi Eskimos and the Sault Thunderbirds Saturday night. The Eskis defeated the T-Birds 3-2 in overtime.



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