A back and forth game got away from the Cape Breton Eagles in the third period as they were defeated 7-3 in Charlottetown on Sunday.
It wasn’t the start the Eagles were looking for, as just 39 seconds into the contest Drew Elliot gave the home side the lead. But it was a tie game before the halfway mark- Liam Kidney put a shot off the right wing on Jacob Goobie and Connor Trenholm was there to put in the rebound.
Before first period’s end, the Eagles would claim their first lead of the game. Jérémy Langlois, playing his first game in over two months, led the rush up the left wing and put it over Goobie to give the Eagles a 2-1 edge. Cape Breton killed a late minor on Logan Kelly-Murphy- the only period to either side in the first frame- and led the contest at the first break.
After 18 minutes of the opening period were played 5 on 5, special teams would play a big part in the second period. An early Braeden Virtue tying goal (a shot through traffic) was the only goal of the middle frame with ten skaters on the ice.
There were two instances of four on four in the period, leading to goals for both teams. FJ Buteau was whistled off with both teams already down a man, and and Thomas Casey finished a four way passing play on a 4 on 3 power play to give Charlottetown the lead. The next time the Eagles & Islanders were playing four on four, Eagle captain Jarrett Baker ripped a shot that Goobie got a piece of but went over the Charlottetown goaltender and just under the crossbar.
Charlottetown would take the lead back though in the last breath of the period. After having hit the post on an earlier man advantage, Cédric Desruisseaux hammered a one timer in the right face-off circle by Nicolas Ruccia with eighth seconds left in the frame. Charlottetown led 4-3 after the second siren.
It was in the early part of the third period where the home side pulled away. Zach Beauregard put a shot over Ruccia just 13 seconds into the final stanza, and then before the three minute mark Casey tapped in a diagonal feed from Brett Budgell to make it 6-4.
Some history was made in the final goal of the day, as a pass from behind the net from Budgell bounced off Desruisseaux’s stomach and in the net. After a review, it was deemed a goal goal, and Desruisseaux became the first 40 goal scorer in Charlottetown Islanders history. HIs goal was the final one of the day.
Throughout the game, video tributes aired at the Eastlink Centre in honour of outgoing Charlottetown athletic therapist Kevin Elliot, who has accepted a job with Hockey Canada. Elliot has worked the Islanders franchise since they arrived in PEI as the Rocket in 2003.
Goobie picked up the win, stopping 21 of 24 shots. Ruccia was given the loss, stopping 34 of 41 shots. For the second consecutive game, Truro Bearcats netminder Frédéric Plourde served as the Eagles backup netminder with William Grimard unable to play due to injury.
The game marked the return to the lineup for four different Eagles players: Forwards Félix Paré (March 24th) and Matthew MacDonald (March 17th) returned to action while on the backend Langlois (February 7th) and Kelly-Murphy (March 20th) also rejoined the lineup.
The return match between the two clubs will take place on Friday night at 7 PM. There is now limited availability to purchase tickets for Eagles home games- full details can be found at https://bit.ly/3jmSmML
The game will also be broadcast on Eastlink Television, and 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
THREE STARS OF THE GAME
1. Kevin Elliot (Charlottetown) Over 1000 QMJHL as PEI/Charlottetown athletic therapist
2. Cédric Desruisseaux (Charlottetown) 2 goals, 2 assist
3. Brett Budgell (Charlottetown) 3 assists
Scratches For Cape Breton: Nathan Larose (upper body injury), William Grimard (upper body injury), Jacob Santerre
Scratches For Charlottetown: Sam Oliver (injury), Sean Stewart (suspension), Ben Boyd (suspension)
Final Shots On Goal: 41-24 in favour of Charlottetown
Cape Breton Power Play: 0/2
Charlottetown Power Play: 2/4