The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles will conclude their first road trip of 2019 when they visit the Charlottetown Islanders tonight at the Eastlink Centre. The Eagles are coming off a 5-1 victory in Saint John last night, while Charlottetown will be playing their first game since the turn of the calendar.
Coming into tonight’s game these two clubs are tied for fourth in the Eastern Conference, and tonight is a key battle for points in the standings given that the top four teams will earn home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Charlottetown holds three games in hand: the Islanders are 23-10-3 (14-3-2 at home) while the Screaming Eagles are 23-13-3 (13-6-2 on the road).
Thus far this season the two sides have played three times, with the home team winning each time. Charlottetown has won two of the three, including the most recent meeting- a 3-2 overtime victory on November 24th.
Since that game both teams have made significant changes. Despite being an honourable mention in the most recent CHL top 10, the Islanders have made a series of deals to get younger- including a significant swap with the Screaming Eagles. 19 year old forward Derek Gentile, who scored his first two goals as an Eagle last night, was exchanged for 17 year old blueliner Noah Laaouan, a former first round pick.
Charlottetown also moved out 19 year old blueliner and captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph for 18 year old defenseman Xavier Bernard (a New Jersey draft pick), and flipped 20 year old forward Keith Getson for fellow 20 year old Jordan Maher.
The Eagles are looking to get healthier as forwards Mitchell Balmas, Isiah Campbell, and Brooklyn Kalmikov missed last night’s game with minor injuries. Goaltender Kevin Mandolese is also out of the lineup with a lower body injury and is not on the road trip.
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!