The Screaming Eagles found the last goal in a wild back and forth game at the Avenir Centre in Moncton Wednesday night. A rising shot from Mitchell Balmas in the third period was the difference in a 5-4 Eagles victory.
No team ever held a two goal advantage in a contest that saw multiple lead changes. Moncton took little time taking the first edge, as Brady Pataki opened the scoring at the 45 second mark. Exactly five minutes later the Eagles would tie the game after Mathias Laferrière converted a cross crease pass from Gabriel Proulx. The Eagles would pull ahead before period’s conclusion when Ryan Francis scored on the first Cape Breton power play of the night.
The Eagles took a 2-1 lead into a second period that would prove to be very eventful. Special teams would be key at the opening of the middle stanza as Eagles blueliner Noah Laaouan was given a double minor for high sticking. Just 80 seconds into the period, Adam Capannelli would tap the puck in from the side of the goal in on a diagonal feed to tie the game. The Cats would also score on the second part on the man advantage, as Alexander Khovanov put on a shot from the right faceoff circle through a screen to give the Wildcats the lead. But less than three minutes later, Mathias Laferrière would blast a one timer just inside the post to tie the game.
Following the six minute mark of the second period, the fireworks would begin. Cape Breton’s Shaun Miller and Moncton’s Jack Tucker ended up in a fight behind the goal line that saw Miller pinned to the back of the Eagles net. Both players would receive five minute majors for fighting, Tucker would receive a two minute penalty for slashing, but Miller was given a match penalty for high sticking along with a game misconduct. The end result was a three minute power play for the Wildcats.
While the Eagles were able to kill off the penalty, they would not the leave the period tied. Mika Cyr received a breakout pass at the top of the circles and would come in and put through the legs of Kevin Mandolese. The Eagles trailed 4-3 at the end of 40 minutes.
The third period would be the only period of the evening where both teams didn’t score, and the Eagles would take advantage. Just 2:28 into the period, Ryan Francis would catch a rebound off the end boards and put the puck by Charles-Antoine Lavallée.
Past halfway through the third period Balmas would skate over the blueline and rip a shot over Lavallée. There would be no further scoring, as Moncton coach Darren Rumble pulled Lavallée for an extra attacker in the final two minutes but the Eagles held on for the victory.
Mandolese picked up the win in goal, stopping 24 of 28 shots. Lavallée allowed five goals on 23 shots in the loss.
16 year old forward Ben Allison was recalled before the game and made his QMJHL debut for the Screaming Eagles, going -1 and recording one hit.
Screaming Eagles captain Declan Smith missed the game following the passing of his mother, Racehl Currie. Earlier in the day the entire Screaming Eagles team and members attended the funeral which took place outside of Antigonish.
The Screaming Eagles now head home for a weekend set which begins as they host the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Friday night. Puck drop is at 7 PM, and 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. Mathias Laferrière (Cape Breton) 2 goals, 1 assist, 4 shots
2. Jordan Spence (Moncton) 3 assists, +1
3. Mitchell Balmas (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 2 assists
Scratches For Cape Breton: Declan Smith (family), Wilson Forest (suspension), Leon Gawanke (Division 1A World Juniors)
Scratches For Moncton: Jacob Hudson (upper body injury), Gabriel Sylvestre (suspension), Jakob Pelletier (school), Elliot Desnoyers (school)
Final Shots On Goal: 28-23 in favour of Moncton