A rally for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles would fall short in a 4-3 defeat in Moncton on Wednesday night.
After a very tentative start to the first period that saw the Wildcats garner a majority of the chances, it was the home side that would strike first. Jordan Spence put a shot on goal from the blueline and the low shot was tipped by Jakob Pelletier, giving Moncton a 1-0 lead that would carry to the break.
In the final two minutes of the opening frame Moncton would earn a power play but the penalty was killed off by the Screaming Eagles. However, Moncton would soon strike at even strength with two goals 36 seconds apart. The first goal was a high point shot by Gabriel Sylvestre that went through a screen and over the shoulder of Kevin Mandolese. The second came on a three way passing play, as Adam Capanelli found Jacob Hudson in front of the net, who would dish the puck to Dylan Seitz at the side of the goal. 5:03 into the middle stanza Moncton had a 3-0 edge.
But as quickly as the Wildcats scored their third goal, the Eagles would get on the board. Brooklyn Kalmikov came in on a 2 on 1, decided to keep the puck and put it through Francis Leclerc.
At the 11:26 mark there would be fireworks, as the captains Declan Smith of Cape Breton and Jonathan Aspirot of Moncton dropped the gloves in a spirited encounter. The fighting penalty was the first penalty of the night to Moncton, and not long after they’d take their first minor as Jeremy McKenna was sent off for hooking. The visitors would take advantage, as a Shawn Boudrais shot from in tight bounced off Leclerc’s pad, off Moncton defenseman Gabriel Sylvestre and over the goal line. Moncton led 3-2 after the second buzzer.
The Eagles would not take long tying the game in the third period, as Brooklyn Kalmikov would convert a cross-crease pass from Egor Sokolov at the 1:32 mark. It was a tie game with six minutes to play in the third period.
There were a few more twists to come, and they would not be favourable to the Screaming Eagles. Kevin Mandolese found himself behind the net and cleared the puck along the boards, but it would be intercepted by Charles-Antoine Giguère who put it into the open net with 4:25 left to play. Things went from bad to worse for the Eagles when Mitchell Balmas was whistled for tripping with under three minutes remaining.
Cape Breton would be given a lifeline though when Adam Capanelli was sent off the ice for four minutes for high sticking late in the third period. With the teams playing 4 on 4 and 1:45 left to play, Marc-André Dumont called a timeout and pulled his netminder Mandolese for an extra attacker. With 56 seconds left, Balmas was out of the puck and the Eagles had a 6 on 4. Despite the pressure, there was no tying goal to be found and Moncton secured a 4-3 victory.
Leclerc stopped 28 of 31 shots in the win, while Mandolese allowed four goals on 25 shots in the loss.
The Screaming Eagles now head home for the back end of the home and home series with the Wildcats on Friday Night. Friday night’s game will be a special 50th anniversary celebration of the QMJHL, and the President’s Cup and Memorial Cup will both be in the building.
Prior to the game there will be pre-game conservation with Screaming Eagles majority owner Irwin Simon, Screaming Eagles president & governor Gerard Shaw, and QMJHL commissioner Giles Courteau. The event will take place at 5:30 in the main concourse of Centre 200 and is free to attend for anyone holding a ticket to the game.
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. Jakob Pelletier (Moncton) 1 goal +1, 5 shots
2. Brooklyn Kalmikov (Cape Breton) 2 goals, +1
3. Charles-Antoine Giguère (Moncton) 1 goal, 2 hits
Scratches For Cape Breton: Wiliam Grimard (upper body injury), Kyle Havlena, Liam Kidney, Isiah Campbell
Scratches For Moncton: Jacob Stewart, Sean Stewart
Final Shots On Goal: 31-25 in favour of Cape Breton