SYDNEY- The back end of a home and home did not resemblance the first leg as the Charlottetown Islanders topped the Screaming Eagles 8-5 in a bizarre game at Centre 200.
Through the first 45 minutes of the contest goals were scored in two goal blocks- with no shortage of eventful circumstances in between. It started in the opening minute when Charlottetown’s Matthew Grouchy wired a shot into the top corner over Kevin Mandolese. Before the five minute mark Pascal Aquin came off the right wing to score on Charlottetown’s second shot of the net and spell an early end to Mandolese’s night.
Less than a minute later the Eagles would get on the board thanks to the captain Phélix Martineau who would beat Matthew Welsh from the hashmarks. Then the scoresheet would fill up in a different way as there was a spirited scrap between Cape Breton’s Jordan Ty Fournier and Charlottetown’s Hunter Drew. Before the halfway mark Martineau would drop the gloves with the Islanders’ Sullivan Sparkes.
The scoring was far from done for the opening period. Cape Breton would tie the game on their first power play on the night, as Ryan Francis banked his own rebound past Welsh (who would face 22 shots in the first period.)
Charlottetown would score twice more before the first buzzer to restore the two goal margin. Thomas Casey would beat Kyle Jessiman for his first career goal, giving the Isles the lead. Aquin would beat Jessiman through the legs to put the Islanders ahead 4-2 at the intermission.
Once again the Eagles would push back, and the league leading power play would go to work again when Martineau would work behind the net and flip a pass to Brooklyn Kalmikov who’d beat Welsh to make it 4-3. At the 7:16 mark Tyler Hylland would tie the game with a shot from the front of the net, converting a feed from Drake Batherson in the right circle. Cape Breton thought they had pulled ahead later in the period when the red light behind Welsh went on for the fifth time, but to the displeasure of the Centre 200 crowd the goal was disallowed as the whistle was already blown.
It would be Charlottetown that would again emerge with the lead after Sullivan Sparkes jammed away at the puck at the crease and put it under Jessiman, who felt he was interfered with but the Islanders had the lead. A would be tying goal toward the end of the period was disallowed. Ross MacDougall wired the puck from centre ice, tricking Welsh but with a player in an offside position the goal was called back.
Sparkes would score the next goal as well, in the early part of the third period. And at the 7:37 mark the Islanders would grab the first three goal lead of the game when Samuel Meisenheimer converted a pass from Sam King on a short handed 2 on 0 that made it 7-4. But what it had already been a bizarre game would have a few more strange turns.
With over three minutes left Screaming Eagles coach Marc-André Dumont would lift Jessiman in favour of an extra attacker. With six skaters Cape Breton would create much pressure and had another would be goal called off after netminder Matthew Welsh knocked the net off its moorings. The penalty gave the Eagles a two man advantage, but it took just five seconds for the Islanders to win a defensive zone faceoff, fire the puck down the length of the ice and give Aquin the hat trick into the empty net.
Despite the setback, the Eagles were still on the man advantage. Dumont elected to leave Jessiman on the bench and playing six on four the club would find their third power play goal of the net under unusual circumstances. The puck was played out to Martineau in front of the goal and would bank off the face of captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph, and past Welsh. Within three goals once more, the Eagles would employ six attackers for the balance of the game, but neither team could would score another goal and the Islanders recorded an 8-5 victory.
Welsh picked up the victory, stopping 37 of 42 shots. Jessiman took the loss, allowing five goals on 15 shots.
Cape Breton will take the week off before hitting the ice for another instalment of the Battle of Nova Scotia, Saturday, November 18th, against the Halifax Mooseheads. It’s a special 2 PM start at the Scotiabank Centre. You can catch all the action starting with the pre-game show with Patrick McNeil at 1:30 on 1270 AM CJCB or online at http://www.cjcbradio.com.
DAIRY QUEEN THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Pascal Aquin (Charlottetown) 3 goals, +4
2. Phélix Martineau (Cape Breton) 2 goals, 1 assist
3. Sullivan Sparkes (Charlottetown) 2 goals
Scratches For Cape Breton: Kyle McGrath (broken collarbone), Noah Laaouan (Under 17s), Declan Smith (suspension)
Scratches For Charlottetown: Noah Massie, Cayse Ton
Final Shots On Goal: 42-18 in favour of Cape Breton
Cape Breton Power Play: 3/6
Charlottetown Power Play: 0/4