Eagles Edged By Islanders In Hard Fought Game In Sydney
The Eagles struck first but couldn’t close in a 4-2 loss to the Charlottetown Islanders at Centre 200 on Saturday night.
Charlottetown had the bulk of the shots in the opening frame, but it was the Eagles found the lone goal of the first period at the 8:17 mark. Liam Kidney sent a pass through the neutral zone, and while Émile Hegarty-Aubin was deep in islanders territory before catching up with it, he was able to jab it by Charlottetown net minder Jacob Goobie to give the home side the lead. The bulk of the opening frame was played at 5 on 5, aside from two minutes of four on four with Félix Tremblay (Charlottetown) and Logan Kelly-Murphy (Cape Breton) serving unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and the Eagles killing off a tripping minor to Kelly-Murphy as well.
Penalties would be the story of the second period, with multiple cases of fisticuffs and misconducts. First it was the Eagles’ Zach Welsh and Islanders’ Braeden Virtue dropping the gloves. Later in the period, Cape Breton’s Matthew MacDonald took exception to a hit by William Trudeau on Jack Campbell, and MacDonald and Trudeau had their own fight.
MacDonald was given an instigator penalty, but Charlottetown did not have star Cédric Desruisseaux for the power play as he was also given his own ten minute misconduct. The Eagles killed it off, but Charlottetown would score at even strength just prior to the 14 minute mark of the middle frame. Lukas Cormier rushed up the right wing and lifted a well-placed shot by Nicolas Ruccia to knot the game at one. The Eagles earned their first power play of the game on a Thomas Casey minor moments later, but would not score and the game was tied at the second break.
An 88 second span in the third period would make the difference in the game. At the 5:33 mark, Patrick Guay won a face-off and sent the puck to Cormier who wired it through traffic to beat Ruccia. Just over a minute later, Ben Boyd took the puck from out of the corner, put a shot on goal and then batted his own rebound down to push the Charlottetown lead to 3-1. Then Desruisseaux found a clear path to the net on the left wing and handcuffed the Eagles netminder to push it a three goal advantage.
The Eagles had their opportunities to get back into the game, including just prior to the eight minute mark when Connor Trenholm was denied by Goobie on a breakaway. There was a breakthrough in the final six minutes when Nathan Larose put a tricky shot from behind the goal line by Goobie to cut the lead to 4-2.
With 2:30 to play, Eagles coach Jake Grimes lifted Ruccia for an extra attacker and for the bulk of the next two minutes, the Eagles possessed the puck in the Islanders zone, but were unable to get another one by Goobie. Ruccia was put back in goal for the final ten seconds and time ticket down on a 4-2 Charlottetown win.
Goobie stopped 18 of 20 shots in the win, while Ruccia turned aside 34 of 38 in the loss.
The Eagles recalled two players for the game, as James Beaton of the Cape Breton West Islanders (Nova Scotia Major U18) played up front and on defense Jacob Christie was called up from the Truro Bearcats (MHL).
The island rivalry will continue next week as the Eagles head to PEI for a pair of games beginning on Tuesday night. Puck drop is at 7 PM. The game will 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. Lukas Cormier (Charlottetown) 2 goals, +1, 9 shots
2. Nathan Larose (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 1 assist
3. Nicolas Ruccia (Cape Breton) 34 saves on 38 shots
Scratches For Cape Breton: Ivan Ivan (border), Mikhail Nizovkin (border), Mark Rumsey (upper body injury), ) Jarrett Baker (upper body injury), Jérémy Langlois (upper body injury), Logan Camp (upper body injury)
Scratches For Charlottetown: Noah Laaouan (upper body injury), Brendan McCarthy
Final Shots On Goal: 38-20 in favour of Charlottetown
Cape Breton Power Play: 0/2
Charlottetown Power Play: 0/3