Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Five-game winning streak over; Eagles fall 7-6 in overtime to Fog Devils

It was a wild and wooly affair from Mile One Centre last night, and despite some heroics from the Eagles' two Newfoundland boys playing in front of family and friends, the team dropped a 7-6 decision in OT to a plucky St. John's Fog Devils hockey club.

St. John's native Kyle Downer made his first appearance in the QMJHL, taking over from starter David Davenport early in the first period after Davenport gave up three goals on six shots in 6:07 of action. Despite the pressures of coming in cold in his first game in front of family and friends, Downer played pretty well and gave the team a chance to win. Who knows, maybe he will get the start in tonight's rematch (6:30 ADT, CJCB AM 1270).

The other Newfoundlander to come up big on the night was Upper Island Cove native Robert Slaney, who fired the game-tying goal at 14:53 to send the game to overtime. Robert only has three goals so far this season, but two of them have been clutch game-tying goals at very key times.

The first period was a crazy whirlwind unlike any the Eagles have been in so far this season to my knowledge. The game wasn't quite eleven minutes old before the score was 4-3 Cape Breton! The Eagles fell behind 3-1 early, which spelled the end of Davenport's night, but two powerplay goals by Cam Fergus and Mickey MacDonald's first goal in the QMJHL gave the Eagles the 4-3 lead heading into the dressing room after one. The three-goal Eagle rally was sparked in part by a timely fight by scrapper Brad Gallant, who challenged the Fog Devils' Tim Spencer to a fight immediately off the faceoff following the third St. John's goal. Over the years, Gallant has proven that he is very good at picking the right time to try and find a scrap to spark his teammates, and more often than not, it works.

In the second period, the see-saw battle continued, with the score 5-5 after two frames. St. John's overager Nicolas Bachand scored early in the third to give the Fog Devils their third lead of the hockey game, but Slaney's heroics sent the game to overtime.

To start the four-on-four overtime, the coaching staff rolled the dice by starting three forwards (Fergus, Paul McIlveen, and Dean Ouellet) and one defenceman (Jean-Claude Sawyer). The move didn't work, as it took just 26 seconds for St. John's sparkplug Ryan Graham to use his speed to motor to the front of the net and tip home a pass from partner in crime Wes Welcher to end things.

It sounds as though it was a very entertaining game from Mile One, but the Eagles have to be disappointed with giving up seven goals to one of the lowest-scoring clubs in the league. On the radio post-game show, assistant coach Mario Durocher claimed that the Eagles played one of their worst games of the season, and stated that there was no way that the Fog Devils should have outskated us like they did. He suggested that maybe the guys took this Fog Devil hockey team a bit for granted. Considering our now 0-5 all-time record at Mile One Centre, we have no business doing that.

The Eagles gave up a goal early in each of the four periods played last night. They have also given up a goal on the first shot of the hockey game in each of their past three outings. They have given up the first goal in each of their last five games, although they won four of those.

For tonight, here's hoping for a better and more consistent effort, especially defensively, and for a better game from whatever goaltender ends up starting. We would all very much like to end this regular season Mile One winless streak, we need the two points in the standings (now one point behind Moncton and five behind Lewiston), we need to start finding a way to win on the road (the Eagles sport a mediocre 7-8-2-0 road record), and you really want to finish what's been a great first half on a positive note.


RinkRat said...

I was just wondering why the Eagles play such a good brand of hockey at home in C200 and not so good on the road ?
After watching the back to back games Nov.24 and Nov.25 against the Mooseheads at C2oo, I noticed, as many others must have, that the Mooseheads had tons of SUPPORT from about 50 or more loyal fans !!!!
These fans were traveling by bus with their Booster Club.Why is this same treatment not offered to our EAGLE FANS ?
I, personally attend some of the Eagle games at the metro center over the course of a season but rarely see other Eagle fans.
If this was offered to our fans surly the boys would appreciate the support on the road and might even play a little better !
Hope for a road trip in the new year.

GO EAGLES GO !!!!!!!

Inside the Nest said...

Rink Rat! You bring up a topic that interests me greatly. :)

There used to be an official Screaming Eagles' booster club, and a few years ago, they did make road trips- a few a season, hitting Halifax, Moncton, Bathurst on multiple occasions and PEI on one occasion.

It was a really nice thing that we had going, but over the years, fan interest for such bus trips totally waned. The club continued to offer bus trips to fans, but only a handful (I'm talking less than 20, sometimes less than 10) would express any interest.

It's the fault of nobody else but the fans themselves, for expressing almost no interest at all, that there are no more fan bus trips, and that there is no more Booster Club (that also died down to a paltry population due to lack of fan interest).

These declines in interest are likely correlated to the decline in attendance on the whole. So many former Eagle fans have since moved away from the area. It's all rather unfortunate.

Like you, I too make sure to make a few road trips per season to support the team despite the lack of organized bus trips. My friends and I usually make three or four road trips per season to watch the Eagles play.

There are still fans scattered around here and there who care enough to go to Halifax to see a game, but are there enough to put together a bus trip? I honestly don't know.

I will be in Halifax this coming weekend to cheer on the Eagles in their final two games before the Christmas break. Is anybody else going? Rink Rat- what about you?

Very good topic, I know that I would be ecstatic if by some miracle, the fan interest in road trips returned enough to have bus trips again; they are very fun and there's nothing like having 50 or so fans invading an opposing rink and taking the place over!

RinkRat said...

Nice to see that the Eagles bounced back from a bad game lastnight and beat the Fogdevils 6 - 3 tonight!!
Great job boys.Hopefully they will keep rolling this weekend against the Moose.I would just like to respond to the comments made by "inside the nest".
I understand that years ago, there was a little more interest from the fans as well as the booster club,to go on the road with the Eagles and show our support.
I also believe that the reason behind the lack of interest these days has alot to do with the "average" age of the Eagle faithful. The elder Eagle fans that support our team faithfully,out number the "youthful" fans 2-1.
The older fans don't want to be traveling on a bus in the middle of the winter to watch a hockey game I'm sure.I would, as everyone else would, love to see alot more younger fans (20yrs to 35yrs)in the rink and on the road supporting our team.
Every fan is GREATLY appreciated in my mind, but the more youth the better.Hope to see you all at the Metro Center.


Anonymous said...

Hello Eagle fans! I'd like to say that the first half of this year was wonderful and entertaining to see.An Eagles team averaging 5 goals a game.

Keep up the good work boys!

A little reminder to the Eagles staff, we have at least 15 season ticket holders, along with a few friends and family, in the first 4 or 5 rows of the "UPPER BOWL" in our section that have been there for years.Never during a home game do we get a chance at any prizes.Example would be Boston Pizza "power play" , t-shirts for the kids, give aways, whatever.Just thought I'd put that out there.

From the faithful in the upper bowl,