SYDNEY- The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles came to an end on Thursday night following a 5-1 defeat to the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The Voltigeurs captured the best of seven series 4 games to 1.
The Eagles limited the high end Voltigeur chances in the early going but in the process were not able to generate much opportunity themselves. Shots in the first period were 10-1 in favour of Drummondville. The Voltigeurs were able to grab the lead when their captain Nicolas Guay put a low shot along the ice through a screen at the 11:37 mark. The Cape Breton penalty kill came up big in holding off the Drummondville attack from inflicting further damage in the opening 20 minutes, as the Voltigeurs were unable to score on a four minute power play after a double minor to Sacha Roy.
The second period would open with a flurry of opportunities for both clubs before the play settled down again. Then the visitors would double their lead as Joe Veleno received a pass at the top of the faceoff circle and wired it over the shoulder of Kevin Mandolese. It was 2-0 halfway through regulation.
Taking no chances, Drummondville coach Dominique Ducharme would use his team’s timeout after the Voltigeurs had iced the puck later in the middle stanza and were unable to make a line change later in the period. On the same sequence the play would go up the ice and Yvan Mongo would cut up the wing and around the crease to beat Mandolese on a backhand, making it a 3-0 game. That would spell the end of Kevin Mandolese’s night as Kyle Jessiman would come in in relief.
Leon Gawanke would give the Eagles hope in the third period, racing in over the blueline and ripping a shot past Olivier Rodrigue, using Olivier Rodrigue as a screen, to get the Eagles on the board at 4:30. Jessiman would earn an assist on the goal.
Drummondville would counter the goal within three minutes, though, as Connor Bramwell finished a pretty three way passing play that started with a drop pass from Brandon Skubel to Xavier Simoneau, and Bramwell converted it. The Voltigeurs held a 4-1 lead with twelve minutes to play.
With 8:12 remaining in the third period the Eagles would earn their first power play of the game, and coach Marc-André Dumont elected to pull Jessiman for an extra attacker. The Eagles could get no closer. After the power play was killed off the net remained empty and Xavier Simoneau fired a shot from centre to hit the open cage and score the final goal of the season at Centre 200.
Rodrigue picked up the win, stopping 16 of 17 shots. Mandolese took the loss, allowing three goals on 19 shots. Jessiman stopped eight of nine shots in relief in addition to the empty net goal.
The loss marks the end of the QMJHL careers of overagers Phélix Martineau, Jordan Ty Fournier, and Ross MacDougall.
Martineau was drafted by the Screaming Eagles in the fifth round in 2014 and had a lengthy career in Sydney, playing four seasons with the Eagles and contributing three 20+ goal seasons. This year as team captain Martineau scored 34 goals and 32 assists for Cape Breton.
Fournier was acquired in a trade from Victoriaville at the 2015 draft and played three full seasons with the Screaming Eagles. Fournier notched 101 points in 195 career regular season games for Cape Breton and scored the overtime winner in the only ever game 7 to go to overtime for the Screaming Eagles, in 2017 against Gatineau.
MacDougall was acquired from the Québec Remparts during the 2016-17 trading period and produced plenty of offense from the blueline. MacDougall collected 58 points in 68 regular season games in his time with the Screaming Eagles, unfortunately being hampered by injuries that limited him to 42 games during this season.
All other players are eligible to return as the Screaming Eagles have just two 19 year old players on their roster- forwards Tyler Hylland and Declan Smith. The Screaming Eagles will now turn their attention to the 2018 QMJHL entry draft, which will take place on June 2nd in Shawinigan.
DAIRY QUEEN THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Connor Bramwell (Drummondville) 1 goal, 1 assist, +3
2. Leon Gawanke (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 4 shots
3. Dawson Mercer (Drummondville) 2 assists, +1
Scratches For Cape Breton: Noah Laaouan, Ian Smallwood, Kyle McGrath
Scratches For Drummondville: Thomas Pelletier, Guillaume Desmarais, Morgan Adams-Moisan (injury)
Final Shots On Goal: 29-17 in favour of Drummondville
Cape Breton Power Play: 0/2
Drummondville Power Play: 0/5