It was the start they were looking for, but not the finish as the Eagles fell 6-4 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in New Brunswick on Friday night.
The Eagles started quickly, racking up a 3-0 lead just after the twelve minute mark. It began when Connor Trenholm finished a pass from behind the net from Émile Hegarty-Aubin. It was an emotional goal for Trenholm, who having lost his grandfather earlier in the week, pointed to the sky in tribute following the marker.
Next it was the Eagles top line, as Félix Lafrance tipped a pass from Ryan Francis from the sideboards by Chad Arsenault. And then after some sustained pressure, Shawn Element directed a Jarrett Baker shot by the Titan netminder.
Bathurst’s best chances came towards the end of the period, where they would find their breakthrough. Logan Chisholm fired a shot through an Alexis Dubé screen in the final minute and it was 3-1 Eagles.
It looked as though the score would be 3-1 at the end of the second period as well. But there was a flurry of goals in the final 2:14, starting with Chisholm’s second goal of the night. Less than a minute later, Mathieu Desgagnés converted his own rebound and it was a tie game.
However, it wouldn’t be tied going to the third period. In tight in front of the Titan goal, Liam Kidney produced some nifty stickhandling to put the puck through Arsenault and the Eagles were ahead 4-3 heading into the third period.
The Eagles hoped to expand their lead in the third period as they finally earned their first power play of the game past the seven minute mark. Instead it was the Titan who would tie the game- Mathieu Desgagnés came flying off the right wing to the front of the goal to beat William Grimard to even the game at 4.
Just over the halfway mark of the third period, Bathurst took their first lead of the game- Bennett MacArthur feeding the puck to Ben Allison in front of the goal to make it a 5-4 margin. Then the home team was able to take advantage of a good break when a shot bounced off Cole Huckins’s stomach in front of the net. The puck landed in front of Huckins and he put it over the goal line to push the edge to 6-4.
Grimard was lifted for an extra attacker and Eagles coach Jake Grimes called for a time out not long after, but the Eagles were unable to hit the scoresheet again. Bathurst took the first game of the two game set 6-4.
The same two teams will do battle tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM. The game will be streamed online, available for purchase at qmjhl.neulion.com/qmjhl. You can also hear all the action beginning with the pre-game show with Patrick McNeil at 3:30 PM on 1270 AM CJCB or online at www.cjcbradio.com
THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Logan Chisholm (Acadie-Bathurst) 2 goals
2. Mathieu Desgagnés (Acadie-Bathurst) 2 goals
3. Félix-Antoine Marcotty (Acadie-Bathurst) 3 assists
Scratches For Cape Breton: Ivan Ivan (border), Mikhail Nizovkin (border), Lucas Canning
Scratches For Acadie-Bathurst: Frank Jenkins (lower body injury), Pierre-Vincent Guignard, Dylan
Champagne, Jan Bednar (border), Harijs Brants (border)
Final Shots On Goal: 38-35 in favour of Bathurst
Cape Breton Power Play: 0/2
Bathurst: Power Play: 0/4