All eyes in the QMJHL will be on the Maritimes this Friday, and the Cape Breton Eagles are in the spotlight as they visit the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
While QMJHL play in the province of Quebec is temporarily suspended, the action continues in the Maritime Division and tonight marks the first meeting of the season between the Eagles and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. It’s only the second road game of the season for the Eagles, who hold a 2-2 record heading into this contest. The Titan finished last in the QMJHL in the last two seasons, but are off to a 3-0-1 start including a 2-0 record at the KC Irving Centre.
The Eagles are coming off a big 6-2 victory over a strong Charlottetown Islanders team on Saturday at Centre 200 in which Nicolas Ruccia picked up his first win in goal. The Eagles trio 20 year olds continue to impress as thus far this season Shawn Element, Nathan Larose, and Jarrett Baker have combined for 20 points over four games.
Secondary scoring has arrived as well for the Eagles as Émile Hegarty-Aubin had a two point night in the victory over Charlottetown. His linemate Liam Kidney has three goals on the young season, tied for eighth in the QMJHL in that category. Tonight he’ll face his brother Riley, who has five points in four games for the Titan thus far.
There are other familiar ties between the two rosters. Eagles captain Element also wore the “C” in Bathurst last year, and is currently tied for third in the QMJHL with eight points.
On the Titan side, Adam McCormick will play against Cape Breton for the first time tonight. The 20 year old defenseman played 231 games with the Eagles and was the QMJHL’s defensive defenseman of the league last season. (David Doucet and Ben Allison of Bathurst are both former second round draft picks of the Eagles, and Titan coach Mario Durocher, who recently coached his 1000th QMJHL game, coached the Eagles from 2008-09 to 2010-11.)
Goaltending has been a story to watch in Bathurst this season. With import goaltender Jan Bednar unavailable, the Titan signed free agent Christian Sbaraglia from the OHL. He had to miss the first four games due to quarantine, causing Bathurst to deal for rookie Chad Arsenault from Charlottetown. In his first four games in the QMJHL he leads the league with a .955 save percentage. The Eagles will likely see both Sbaraglia and Arsenault this weekend.
Puck drop this evening is at 7 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 6:30 PM on 1270 AM CJCB or online at www.cjcbradio.com