The problem, quite simply, is they are losing the vast majority of those tightly contested battles. Another case in point came Wednesday night at home as the Barons were deadlocked at 1-1 with the league-leading Soo Thunderbirds with less than a minute to play in Period 2.
But a goal by Eric Hillock at 19:43 began the downward spiral for Sudbury, with two more by Gavin Burbach in the third and a final tally courtesy of Riley Bordin spelling a 5-1 defeat at the hands of the T-Birds.
Such has been the season to date, one which finds the Nickel Barons sitting seventh in an eight-team loop with a record of 7-17-0-4, well back of the front-running Sooites at 24-4-0-2.
The margin on the ice, however, does not seem nearly as expansive. After a scoreless opening frame at the McClelland Arena, the visiting Thunderbirds broke the ice at 6:46 of the second, with Anthony Miller solving rookie Sudbury netminder Andrew Lefebvre.
The Barons pulled even roughly 10 minutes later as North Bay Battalion prospect Brody Brunet pulled the trigger, taking a pass from Justin Bell.
Though Sudbury would keep the score close through 40 minutes, the same could not be said for the shots on goal, as the Thunderbirds outshot the Barons 42-22.
Coach Trevor Blanchard and crew will be eyeing a chance at redemption tonight in the Lock City, playing the back-end of the home-and-home set before returning to Copper Cliff on Wednesday to face the North Bay Trappers (10-14-0-4).