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Eagles Drop Islanders In 2019 Home Ice Debut

The Screaming Eagles avenged Saturday’s loss in PEI and emerged victorious in the first home game of 2019, a 6-2 over the Charlottetown Islanders.

Neither team was able to kickstart much in the way of offense in the opening period as the two teams combined for just 11 shots, and each went 0 for 1 on the power play. The best scoring chance may not have been on net, when Egor Sokolov batted a pass from Mitchell Balmas out of midair over the goal.

Sokolov would be more precise in the second period, opening the scoring after a pass from Declan Smith sent him in all alone just past the five minute mark. (The assist marked the 100th regular season point of Smith’s junior career.) The second goal of the night would also belong to the Russian forward as he put a shot on goal from the left side of the net that just squeaked through Matthew Welsh.

Just 23 seconds later, the Eagles would extend their lead further as Gabriel Proulx would take advantage of a turnover behind the net to stuff it behind Welsh. It was as 3-0 score halfway through regulation.

Charlottetown would climb back into the game, beginning with a power play effort as a precise shot from Brett Budgell found its way through William Grimard halfway through a minor penalty to Wilson Forest. Budgell would follow Sokolov’s act by scoring his second of the period, finishing a sequence of scoring chances for the visitors with a tap in from the blue paint. The Eagles led 3-2 heading into the final period.

Welsh would be briefly relieved to begin the third period due to an equipment issue. Issak Pelletier would play the first 74 seconds of the period, facing and stopping one shot in his QMJHL debut before Welsh returned to the net.

There would be no scoring for the first twelve minutes of the period and when a goal was found, it was the home side building insurance on its lead. Adam McCormick rushed the puck into the Islanders end, dished it to Declan Smith who passed it to Mitchell Balmas who hammered it by Welsh.

With over four minutes remaining and needing two goals, Charlottetown coach Jim Hulton lifted Welsh for an extra attacker. But he could get no closer as Eagles captain Declan Smith hit the open goal to make it a 5-2 margin. The Eagles would add one more in the final minute as Ryan Francis converted on a breakway.

Grimard picked up the victory, stopping 27 of 29 shots. Welsh allowed five goals on 30 shots in taking the loss.

The Screaming Eagles continue their home stand Friday night with another instalment of the Battle Of Nova Scotia as the Halifax Mooseheads visit the Nest. 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. Egor Sokolov (Cape Breton) 2 goals, 1 assist, +3
2. Declan Smith (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 2 assists, +3
3. Mitchell Balmas (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 2 assists, +3

Scratches For Cape Breton: Roddie Sandilands, Isiah Campbell, Liam Kidney

Scratches For Charlottetown: Cole Edwards

Final Shots On Goal: 31-29

Attendance: 1931

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