Tonight the Screaming Eagles will look at the opposite end of the standings from last night’s game. After a 6-2 romp over the league’s bottom dwelling club in Saint John, the top team in the QMJHL the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies roll into town. The Huskies hold the team’s top record (22-4-0) and are 10-2 on the road. Rouyn-Noranda is also on a ten game winning streak.
The Screaming Eagles have put together a decent run in their own right, winning four of their last five with the lone loss coming in overtime. Cape Breton is in sole possession of sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 14-11-2, and can move into a tie with idle Rimouski with a victory tonight. Thus far this season the Eagles are 6-6 on home ice.
Rouyn-Noranda has played very well against the Eagles over the last few years, having won of nine of their last ten meetings against Cape Breton. The Huskies squad coming in tonight as one familiar face to Screaming Eagles fans- former Eagle blueliner Ryan MacLellan. Last season MacLellan played 31 games before being reassigned to Junior A. In the off-season he arrived in Rouyn-Noranda via trade.
MacLellan holds a unique distinction on the Rouyn-Noranda roster: he’s the only player to play even a single game with another QMJHL team. In a league where many teams choose to build by trades, the Huskies have taken a home grown approach. Remarkably, not a single regular roster player on the Huskies is NHL drafted. (Overage blueliner Zachary Lauzon, a Pittsburgh draft pick, hasn’t played a single game due to injury, while San Jose prospect Zach Edmond has is backing up 20 year old Samuel Harvey.)
While the Huskies have been primarily winning with defense (with the lowest goals against in the league with 58), there is no shortage of firepower either. Leading the attack for Rouyn-Noranda is league leading point getter Peter Abbandonato. The Huskies also sent three players to the Canada/Russia Series in November: forwards Félix Bibeau and Rafaël Harvey-Pinard, along with defenseman Justin Bergeron.
The Eagles are hoping they can bring a balanced attack to thwart the Huskies defense. Last night’s victory saw six different Screaming Eagles players hit the back of the net, and 13 different players recorded points. With 15 points in his last 12 games, Eagles forward Mathias Laferrière sits just outside the top ten in points, and Egor Sokolov is tied for fifth in goals scored 16 goals.
Tonight’s game goes 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 Go Eagles Go!