In a series that’s been tight checking from the get go, scoring chances were harder to find than ever as the Screaming Eagles and Rimouski Océanic combined for just 39 shots on Tuesday night. Only Rimouski was able to capitalize, winning 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead. It was the first loss on home ice for the Eagles this playoffs.
Both teams had a power play in the opening 7 minutes, but were unable to score. Alexis Lafrenière got things started at even strength for Rimouski at the 8:12 mark, picking up the puck in front of the net and putting it by Kevin Mandolese. It was the lone goal of the opening frame which saw the Eagles outshoot the visitors 9-5.
Even two minutes of four on four early in the middle stanza did not do much to create scoring chances, despite a quick pace of play. The Eagles would earn two power plays though in the period, and the best chance of the night may not have been a shot on goal as Brooklyn Kalmikov wired it off the crossbar. It was a slim 1-0 Rimouski edge heading into the third period.
Before the three minute mark of the third period Rimouski doubled their lead. Carson MacKinnon was able to gain speed coming up through the middle of the ice, came up the wing and put it through the legs of Mandolese to make it a 2-0 edge. The Eagles were not able to capitalize not long after when Lafrenière was sent to the box. It wouldn’t be the final time Lafrenière would hit the scoresheet, although the next time would come with some controversy.
With 4:10 to play Eagles coach Marc-André Dumont lifted Mandolese for an extra attacker in an attempt to generate some offence. However the Océanic were able to hit the open net to seal the deal. It appeared that Lafrenière slashed Mathias
Laferrière to earn the puck but no penalty was called, and he scored to give Rimouski had a 3-0 victory. The Eagles were only able to generate two shots in the third period.
Defensemen Jordan Lepage of Rimouski and Antoine Crete-Belzile of Cape Breton both continued to miss game action due to injury, while Screaming Eagles captain Declan Smith missed his first game of the series with an upper body injury and is not expected to play in games four and five.
Ellis stopped all 18 Eagles shots in the victory, while Mandolese stopped 18 of 20 in taking the loss.
Game 4 of this series takes place on Thursday night at 7 PM. 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. Colten Ellis (Rimouski) 18 save shutout
2. Alexis Lafrenière (Rimouski) 2 goals
3. Egor Sokolov (Cape Breton) 3 shots
Scratches For Cape Breton: Antoine Crete-Belzile (upper body injury), Declan Smith (upper body injury), Isiah Campbell
Scratches For Rimouski: Jordan Lepage (injury), Elliot St-Pierre, Frédéryck Janvier
Cape Breton Power Play:
Rimouski Power Play:
Final Shots On Goal: 21-18 in favour of Rimouski