For the second straight game, the Screaming Eagles went to a shootout to achieve the same result. The Eagles fell 3-2 in a shootout loss to the Drummondville Voltigeurs on Wednesday night at Centre 200.
Special teams would be a huge factor in the game, and it was on the power play that Drummondville would open the scoring. When Olivier Bourret put the puck out of play at the 3:01 mark, it was the first whistle of the contest. The Voltigeurs would go to work on the power play, as a point shot from Pierre-Olivier Joseph was tipped by Pavel Koltygin at the side of the net and it was a 1-0 score.
Less than five minutes later, the Eagles would earn their own opportunity to change the game. Mitchel Balmas had an open net as he stood at the side of the goal- he was unable to put the puck in but did reclaim it and succeeded in drawing a penalty. With the Eagles controlling the zone and pressing just six seconds after Maxime Comtois’s penalty ended, Balmas would make no mistake this time and tied the game at 1.
That was not officially a power play goal, but the man advantage would come through for the Eagles in the second stanza. With traffic being generated in front of the goal Mathias Laferrière tucked in a rebound and the home team was ahead before the five minute mark of the second period. Now in the lead, the Eagles were able to tighten up the neutral zone and limit the Drummondville opportunities- after firing 13 shots in the opening period, the visitors only managed four in the second period.
Again it was the power play that would come through for Drummondville in the third period, and did so after a parade of special teams. The Eagles actually earned a four minute advantage when Nicolas Beaudin was given a four minute minor for butt ending. With the first half of the double minor almost elapsed, Willson Forest was sent off for tripping, and the teams played a full two minutes of 4 on 4.
Neither team could take advantage of the open ice, but with nine seconds left in the double minor the Eagles were caught with too many men on the ice. Drummondville wouldn’t need much time on the man advantage, as Maxime Comtois cashed in on a cross-crease pass from Joe Veleno to tie the game at 2.
There were no goals in the final eight minutes of regulation, and overtime would also solve nothing as the Eagles were able to kill off another too many men on the ice call. The home side shot first in the shootout, and Derek Gentile lifted a backhand over Olivier Rodrigue to start it off. Dawson Mercer was unable to score and the Eagles had the edge after the opening round of shooters.
The script was flipped in round two of the shootout, as Mitchell Balmas was denied and Gregor MacLeod tied things up. Egor Sokolov failed to score for Cape Breton and Joe Veleno had the chance to win it for Drummondville. He would do exactly that, putting a shot over the shoulder of Kevin Mandolese and securing the victory for the visitors.
Rodrigue stopped 16 of 18 shots in picking up the win, while Mandolese turned aside 26 of 28 in the loss.
The Screaming Eagles continue their home stand Friday night as they host division rival Moncton. 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. Kevin Mandolese (Cape Breton) 26 shots on 28 saves
2. Leon Gawanke (Cape Breton) 2 assists, +1
3. Pierre-Olivier Joseph (Drummondville) 2 assists, 2 hits
Scratches For Cape Breton: Liam Kidney, Nathan Larose, Félix Lafrance
Scratches For Drummondville: Nicolas Guay (injury), Charles-Edouard Drouin
Final Shots On Goal: 28-18 in favour of Drummondville