The Screaming Eagles begin their final pre-Christmas road trip of the season tonight against their fiercest rivals, the Halifax Mooseheads. It’s the final meeting between the two teams before the annual Hurley Cup, and the first contest in a three game road trip for the Eagles.
Both teams have been performing well as of late, and if the playoffs were to begin today, the two sides would clash for the first time since 2008. The Mooseheads, on a five game winning streak, sit in third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 22-7-1 (6-3-1 at home). The Screaming Eagles are sixth in the conference at 18-12-2, and are 9-5-2 on the road. (This season the Eagles have exactly nine wins and seven loses both at home and on the road.) This season Halifax has won three of four meetings, splitting the two games at Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
Tied for the lead in Screaming Eagles scoring, Mitchell Balmas has been comfortable playing away from Centre 200 this season. Along with Moncton’s Jeremy McKenna, Balmas is one of just two players to record a point in each of his team’s road games. This season the Eagles have received offense from the blueline as well, as Adam McCormick finds himself in the top 15 in points among defensemen- his 18 points has him tied with multiple players, including Halifax’s Justin Barron.
Cape Breton’s Leon Gawanke is one of the elite point producers on the blueline this season but is one of three players missing from tonight’s game for international duty. Gawanke is away with Team Germany at the Division 1A World Juniors. Halifax will be without forward Raphaël Lavoie and Jared McIssac as they vie for spots on the Canadian roster.
Screaming Eagles coach Marc-Andre Dumont will also be absent as he is part of the Team Canada coaching staff for the tournament. Assistant coach Brent Hughes will handle duites on the bench, and assistant coach John Kibyuk, who is usually only the bench for Eagles home games, will be on the bench during the road trip as well.
In the absence of Lavoie, Éric Veilleux’s Mooseheads will lean on other weapons up front such as New York Islanders draft pick Arnaud Durandeau. Durandeau has goals in four consecutive games, and 33 points in 30 games thus far this season.
Puck drop for tonight’s game is at 7:00 PM, and you can catch all the action beginning with the pre-game show at 6:30 with Patrick McNeil on 1270 CJCB (or online at cjcbradio.com). Go Eagles Go!