After a relaxing holiday break, the Screaming Eagles and their fans are back to C200 tomorrow night as the team kicks off the second half of the season with a game against the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Tomorrow night's game should see one of the bigger crowds of the season on hand, as many people are home for the holidays. This should create for a real fun atmosphere inside the rink; the game is always a more exciting experience when it's played in front of a packed house!
The Screaming Eagles had a very good first half, entering tomorrow night's game with a record of 24-12-2 for 50 points in the league standings. They'll try to start the second half on a positive note when they face a recently-renovated Sea Dog team. Saint John has made several trades since the opening of the Christmas trading period. The following is a brief look at who's come and gone for the Sea Dogs:
In: Keven Guerette-Charland and Kyle Kelly (from Victoriaville), Bruno Desjardins and Alexandre Leduc (Val d'or), as well as goaltender Travis Fullerton (Lewiston).
Out: Charles Bergeron (to Acadie-Bathurst), Felix Schutz (Val d'or), Alexandre Labonte and Alexandre Monahan (Victoriaville), Maxime Dubuc (St. John's), Dave Bouchard (kicked off team after controversial "flag incident").
Saint John sits in last place in the East Division and second-last place overall in the league, but of course no opponent can be taken for granted. Cape Breton found that out just before the break in Halifax, when they were maybe a bit overconfident going into that second game against the Mooseheads.
The Sea Dogs also feature in their lineup Sydney native Ryan Sparling, who is among their leading scorers. One more kid to watch is defenceman Yann Sauve, the top pick in the latest Q midget draft.
Cape Breton enters this game with a big boost on defence with the return of Oskars Bartulis, who was playing in the Pool B World Juniors with Latvia. Though the defence held up quite well while he was gone, he was missed (especially on the powerplay) and it will be great to have him back in the lineup tomorrow night for the first time in almost a month. Also scheduled to return soon from injury are defencemen Etienne Breton and Daniel Fazzalari, although I honestly don't know if either would be back for tomorrow night's game.
We should see David Davenport getting the call in goal for Cape Breton, and after his stellar third star performance tonight in Halifax, we could very well see new Sea Dog Travis Fullerton between the pipes for Saint John. Hopefully the holiday layoff gave Davenport a bit of time to regroup, refocus, and find his game again, as he struggled in five of his last six starts just prior to the break. You may remember Fullerton from a couple of games against Lewiston last season; on two occasions he robbed the Eagles of victories with 40-plus save performances. He has had our number, so the Eagles have to be sharp!
Once again, should be a great crowd on hand tomorrow night, and even though it would be nice if we were playing a bit bigger a rival for the occasion, it's still great to come out and catch a game during the holiday season. See you at the rink!
Note: The Screaming Eagles have also added a player from Ontario to the practice roster. 18-year-old defenceman Collin Carwardine skated with the team today. He is currently here on permission to practice with the team; whether or not he ever ends up playing any games for the Eagles remains to be seen.