Another potential playoff preview and another nail bitter took place for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles as the Eagles fell 5-4 in a shootout to the Charlottetown Islanders.
The Eagles took control of the game in the early going, jumping out to a 2-0 lead. Ryan Francis started the scoring, beating Matthew Welsh on a drop pass from Shaun Miller on a 3 on 1. Mitchell Balmas doubled the lead with a power play marker as he fired a shot through traffic. It was 2-0 with five minutes to play in the opening period, but both teams would score again before period’s end.
Jordan Maher put Charlottetown on the board, putting a shot on Kevin Mandolese that he initially stopped, but the puck dropped down and under the Eagles goaltender. The Eagles would get the goal back, though, as Leon Gawanke tied the contest with 20 seconds to play.
The second period would turn out to be a lengthy exercise. The play was stopped after a fight between Liam Kidney and Cole Edwards, but didn’t resume for seven minutes due to an issue with the net in front of section 12. Perhaps the delay gave the the Islanders a chance to regroup. Just 42 seconds later, Zachary Beauregard pulled Charlottetown within one. He had second goal of the game before period’s end and it was a tie game.
Sullivan Sparkes tipped a point shot early in the third period to give the visitors their first lead of the night. There would be one more twist though, as an Adam McCormick shot bounced off the end boards and behind Welsh. Balmas jabbed the rebound in for his second of the night and it was a tie game.
Balmas had a chance to finish the game, shooting on a 2 on 1 in overtime but was denied by Welsh. Charlottetown outshoot Cape Breton 4-2 but also couldn’t find a go ahead goal, and the game went to a shootout.
Balmas and Daniel Hardie shot first for their respective teams, and neither was able to score. After Egor Sokolov was denied, Sparkes came up for Charlottetown. Sparkes pulled his deke back and lifted the puck over Mandolese to give Charlottetown the shootout lead. Derek Gentile had to score to extend the game, and skated all the way to the right boards, came back but couldn’t beat Welsh as Charlottetown secured the win.
Welsh picked up the win, stopping 34 of 38 shots. Mandolese took the loss, stopping 31 of 35 shots.
The same two teams will go at it tomorrow night for the annual Irish Jersey game at Centre 200 tomorrow night. The Eagles will wear special green uniforms that will be raffled off in support of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation. Puck drop is at 7 PM, and tickets can be purchased at the Centre 200 box office, by phone at 902-564-2200 or online at https://tickets.capebreton.ca/Online/default.asp
THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Zachary Beauregard (Charlottetown) 2 goals, 4 shots, +2
2. Mitchell Balmas (Cape Breton) 2 goals, 7 shots
3. Sullivan Sparkes (Charlottetown) 1 goal, 1 assist
Scratches For Cape Breton: Declan Smith (upper body injury), Shawn Boudrias (upper body injury), Antoine Crête-Belzile (upper body injury)
Scratches For Charlottetown: William Sirman (injury), Thomas Casey (injury)
Cape Breton Power Play: 1/1
Charlottetown Power Play: 0/3
Final Shots On Goal: 38-35 in favour of Cape Breton