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Nickel Barons score ninth win of season

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Dec 20, 2013 - 2:46 PM |
With the season the Sudbury Nickel Barons have endured to date, the team would just as soon wipe the slate clean and start over. In a sense, they will have the opportunity to do exactly.

On the same day that head coach Trevor Blanchard announced that he was stepping down, citing personal reasons, the Barons worked hard to impress team owner Mike Mooney, handling the coaching reins for the local NOJHLers on a temporary basis.

No one likely made a bigger impression than veteran Giovanni Foschia, as the Valley East product scored all three goals, including the game-winner in overtime, lifting Sudbury past the Elliot Lake Bobcats 3-2.

The win was the ninth of the year for the Nickel Barons, leaving the team still six points back of the sixth-place North Bay Trappers. Joining Foschia in the spotlight was Wolves' prospect Michael Muzyka.

The 17-year-old netminder stopped 40 of the 42 shots directed his way, with only Jason Berube and Aviv Milner foiling the Sudbury puckstopper. In the end, however, most of the chatter centred around the Barons' coaching situation and the naming of the new man in charge.

"Jason Young will take over our first game of the new year," said Mooney after the game. "We're looking forward to seeing what Jason can bring to the mix."

But with a lengthy injury list that still includes Bradley Bell, Jonathan Lavigne, August Jarecki, Ryan Punkari and Dylan Callaghan, Mooney was quick to stand behind his original choice.

"I don't know what the record is now in terms of one-goal losses, but it's got to be close to 15," he said. "And given the injuries to key players, I think Trevor did well with what he had to work with."

Surrendering the second most goals in the league, including more than double the amount allowed by the Sault Thunderbirds and Kirkland Lake Gold Miners, the Sudbury franchise should present an interesting challenge to Young, who has plenty of recent coaching experience both at the Midget AAA level, as well as with OHL talent.

"We have to bring down our goals against, and that's not anything against the goaltenders," noted Mooney. "It's more about our team committing to playing both ends of the ice.

"We don't have a bonafide natural goal scorer or two, like we had last year, so we have to manufacture goals."

The Nickel Barons will travel to Iroquois Falls on Saturday, facing the Abitibi Eskimos to close out the 2013 portion of the schedule.

Young will enjoy his first chance to put his stamp on the team come Jan. 4, when Sudbury does battle with Kirkland Lake. His first home game is set for four days later, with the Blind River Beavers making the trek to Copper Cliff on Jan. 8.

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