Game 1 of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League playoff series between the No. 4 Abitibi Eskimos and the No. 5 Elliot Lake Bobcats gets underway tonight at Jus Jordan Arena in Iroquois Falls at 7:30 p.m.
The following is a preview of this best-of-seven affair:
SCHEDULE: After Friday evening’s opener the two sides will meet again Saturday with game 2 back in Iroquois Falls at 7:30 p.m.
There series will then shift to Centennial Arena in Elliot Lakes for games 3 and 4, March 20-21.
If necessary, game 5 goes Sunday, March 23rd at 7:30 p.m. at Jus Jordan Arena.
Should a sixth game in the series be required, it is scheduled for Monday, March 24 in Elliot Lake at 7:30 p.m.
If needed, game 7 will be held Wednesday, March 26th at 7:30 p.m. in Iroquois Falls.
NOJHL quarter-final series C: (5) Abitibi Eskimos vs. (5) Elliot Lake Bobcats
Game 1 Friday, March 14th Elliot Lake Abitibi 7:30 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
Game 2 Saturday, March 15th Elliot Lake Abitibi 7:30 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
Game 3 Thursday, March 20th Abitibi Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. Centennial Arena
Game 4 Friday, March 21st Abitibi Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. Centennial Arena
Game 5* Sunday, March 23rd Elliot Lake Abitibi 7:30 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
Game 6* Monday, March 24th Abitibi Elliot Lake 7:30 p.m. Centennial Arena
Game 7* Wednesday, March 26th Elliot Lake Abitibi 7:30 p.m. Jus Jordan Arena
* – if necessary
COMING IN: Entering postseason play, the Eskimos had a 5-3-0-2 record in their final 10 regular season contests.
The Bobcats meanwhile went 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 outings prior to the playoffs.
HEAD-TO-HEAD: The two sides tangled eight times during the course of the 2013-14 campaign with Abitibi taking six of the games outscoring the Bobcats by a margin of 39-31.
Four of the contests were decided by just one goal, including a pair in overtime.
Sept. 21st @ Abitibi: 6-2 Eskimos
Oct. 26th @ Abitibi: 5-4 Eskimos (OT)
Nov. 2nd @ Elliot Lake: 4-3 Bobcats
Nov. 16th @ Abitibi: 6-4 Eskimos
Nov. 22nd @ Elliot Lake: 6-3 Bobcats
Dec. 8th @ Elliot Lake: 6-3 Eskimos
Jan. 12th @ Elliot Lake: 7-6 Eskimos (2OT)
Feb. 8th @ Abitibi: 3-2 Eskimos
POINT PRODUCERS: Leading the way offensively for Abitibi in games vs. Elliot Lake was Ryan Tront as he amassed 14 points against the Bobcats scoring five times while doling out nine assists.
Erik Robichaud and Brady Clouthier were next with 10 points apiece. Robichaud tallied four times while Clouthier had three tallies to his credit.
Brett Wagner was the key offensive cog for Elliot Lake as he picked up a dozen points against the Eskimos that saw him score nine goals and set-up three others.
Dustin Cordeiro was next with six points while Aviv Milner and Aaron Carmichael both had five.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Abitibi netminder Sylvain Miron was 3-0 in games vs. Elliot Lake this season and Brody Wagner also had a trio of triumphs for the Eskimos against two losses.
Alex Bitsakis picked up both wins for the Bobcats against the Eskis.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Of the 70 goals the two sides combined for in the season series, special teams accounted for a fair number of them.
Abitibi scored nine times on the power play in 41 opportunities while Elliot Lake connected for six man advantage opportunities in 32 chances.
Both clubs also did some damage while short-handed as well with Eskimos striking six times while they were down a man and the Bobcats added three short-handed efforts of their own.
OVERALL: After 56 regular season games Abitibi finished fourth overall in the NOJHL standings at 30-22-0-4, which left them with 64 points. Their 30 wins was the most by the club since the 2009-10 campaign when the racked up 50 victories.
Elliot Lake easily surpassed the 15 wins and 32 points they had in their first year in the league last season.
The Bobcats finished fifth in the NOJHL in 2013-14 going 26-24-0-6 finishing with 58 points, six behind the Eskimos.
Submitted by NOJHL