The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles kept their hopes of home ice advantage alive with a 5-1 win on Friday night over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Heading into the final day of regular season action, the fifth place Eagles trail Charlottetown by a single point.
It was a convincing win for the Eagles although the first period didn’t leave much to choose from between the two sides. Bathurst actually struck first, earning a power play in the opening two minutes of the game. While the Eagles denied the Titan entry in the opening minute of the man advantage, Cole Rafuse tipped a point shot by Kevin Mandolese to make it a 1-0 game.
Before the seven minute mark it was a tie game, as Isiah Campbell raced in on a breakaway and beat Tyriq Outen. After 20 minutes the score, as well as the shots- 7 a piece-, were even.
The middle stanza was a much different story. It took more than four minutes for either team to earn a shot but when the pucks started to hit the net, the Eagles fired the first nine shots on goal and scored on those first two shots. Cape Breton’s second power play unit would come through for the go ahead goal as Wilson Forest fired a shot through a screen. 70 seconds later, Shaun Miller fired a shot over the shoulder of Outen to push the edge to 3-1. That’s how the period would finish.
Just as was the case in the second period, the Eagles would score twice in the third frame. Nathan Larose made it 4-1, and then the Eagles cashed in on second of back to back power play play opportunities.
Brandon Cianflone was whistled for slashing, and thought he had a scoring chance when he left the penalty box and raced into the Cape Breton zone. However he left the penalty box early, and was sent right back to the box with an interference call. While Bathurst won the ensuing face-off, the puck came loose to Mathias Laferrière who ripped it by Outen just three seconds into the man advantage. That was the final goal in a 5-1 victory.
Mandolese picked up the win, stopping 16 of 17 shots. Outen took the loss, allowing five goals on 32 shots.
Screaming Eagles forward 18 year old forward Nicolas Sauvé made his QMJHL debut, having been called up from Jr. AAA Gatineau. He finished the net even, took a minor penalty, and recorded two hits.
The victory was a milestone for Screaming Eagles coach Marc-André Dumont as it was his 300th win as a QMJHL head coach. He becomes just the 22nd coach in the 50 year history of the league to hit the milestone.
The Screaming Eagles finish the 2018-19 regular season tomorrow afternoon in Bathurst. Puck drop is at 3 PM, you can catch all the action beginning with the pre-game show with Patrick McNeil at 2:30 on 1270 AM CJCB or online at www.cjcbradio.com.
THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Shaun Miller (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 2 assists, +2
2. Egor Sokolov (Cape Breton) +1, 3 shots
3. Cole Rafuse (Acadie-Bathurst) 1 goal, 3 hits
Scratches For Cape Breton: Declan Smith (upper body injury), Antoine Crête-Belzile (upper body injury), Adam McCormick (illness), Derek Gentile (illness)
Scratches For Acadie-Bathurst: Charles-André Cypihot (injury), Oliver Turan (injury), Mathieu Samson (injury), Kristin Kovacik (injury)
Cape Breton Power Play: 2/3
Acadie-Bathurst Power Play: 1/4
Final Shots On Goal: 32-17 in favour of Cape Breton