IROQUOIS FALLS - Braddock Baalerud was solid making 31 saves to backstop the Abitibi Eskimos to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners Friday in a Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League neutral site affair in Timmins.
The defending NOJHL champion Gold Miners got on the board first as Dylan Rosen found the mark midway through the opening stanza.
Abitibi captain Kevin Walker then tied it for the Eskimos with a shorthanded effort at 12:04 of the second period.
Special teams then allowed the home side to notch the difference maker as Cameron Etherington connected during a power play in the latter stages of the middle session.
Baalreud then shut the door the rest of the way making 11 more stops in the final frame to give Abitibi the win and hand Kirkland Lake their first loss of the season.
Devon Debastos saw 24 shots in defeat for the Gold Miners.