The graduation of the trio of Jordan Carroll, Nick Esposto and Jamie Haines created a large void in the offensive engine of the Sudbury Nickel Barons, but the younger Haines seems up to the challenge at hand.
The Valley East native recorded a hat trick and added an assist as the local juniors upended the Abitibi Eskimos 6-2 Saturday evening in Iroquois Falls, improving to 2-0 in the process.
Haines was joined on the scoresheet by Josh Moore, August Jarecki and Cory Vaillancourt, with Jarred Nowry and Zach Innes countering in a losing cause for the homeside.
Sudbury outshot Abitibi 48-31 on the night, with Eskies' netminder Marc Audet earning first star honours. Sudbury Wolves' prospect Michael Muzyka enjoyed a solid debut in the NOJHL, coming through with a 29-save performance in earning his first win at the junior level.
The Nickel Barons are back in action on Wednesday evening in Copper Cliff as the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners make their first visit of the season to the McLelland Arena.