Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Lewiston weekend a huge success as Eagles sweep in front of sold out crowd!

The most critical weekend of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles' season to date couldn't have gone down much better.

This past weekend's pair of home dates against the division-leading Lewiston MAINEiacs had been circled on fans' calendars for a long time, and the Eagles made sure it was well worth the wait. Cape Breton won both of the crucial divisional matchups, the latter in front of a sold-out crowd, to not only gain four very important points in the standings on the rival MAINEiacs, but to rebound very nicely from a road trip full of struggles the weekend before, where they won only one of four games.

Friday night's contest was a tight-checking goaltender's duel that was hanging in the balances until the final buzzer. Netminders Ondrej Pavelec of the Eagles and Peter Delmas of the MAINEiacs stole the show, each standing on his head in front of a crowd decimated in size by a winter blizzard that rocked the Island. Chris Culligan opened the scoring by blasting a low slapshot past Delmas in the second period, and set Dean Ouellet up at the side of the net with a perfect pass for the eventual game-winner late in the third. Pavelec came up with a number of huge saves to ensure the victory, none bigger than his penalty shot stop on Lewiston forward Stefan Chaput in period three. Defenceman Beau Prokopetz made his home debut as an Eagle in this contest, but fellow newcomer Luc Bourdon sat out with an ankle injury.

On Saturday night, the weather couldn't stop a sold-out crowd from filling C200 pretty much to capacity as the Eagles came up with one of their best 60-minute efforts of the season in a convincing 4-0 victory over the American visitors. Pavelec was unbeatable in this contest, registering his first shutout of the season and cementing his status as the QMJHL's Defensive Player of the Week for the week. Cape Breton got two great goals from somewhat unlikely sources (Jean-Christophe Gauthier and Brad Gallant) early in the game and never looked back; the outcome of this game was never really in much doubt. This game also saw Cam Fergus finally break out of his five-game pointless streak with a pair of goals. Linemate Paul McIlveen also broke a five-game pointless streak with an assist on one of Fergus's markers. New defenceman Prokopetz made a great impression on the C200 crowd by earning third star honours in just his second home game with the team. As well, the packed house got to see Bourdon finally make his much-anticipated home debut with the Eagles, although he was still clearly hurting and could only play at limited capacity.

After losing three of their first four games with the new faces in the lineup, the "new look" Eagles team had something to prove, and prove it they did by taking all four points from the first-overall Lewiston squad this weekend. Although the team's goal scoring may need another game or two to get back into full gear, this weekend's wins were a huge step in the right direction, and in large part make up for the recent disappointing road trip. The most important thing in these two wins was the play of goaltender Pavelec. If the Eagles are going to go anywhere this year, they're going to need Ondrej at the top of his game, and in each of his last four starts, we have seen him at the top of his game. Here's to hoping that this trend can continue.

With the two wins, Cape Breton improves to 33-16-2 for 68 points, and now sit just four points back of Lewiston for first place, and one point back of Moncton for second place. Going into the weekend, the Eagles trailed Lewiston by eight points, and Moncton by three.

The Eagles are now enjoying a few days off before continuing their five-game home stand on Friday against the Rimouski Oceanic and Sunday against the Drummondville Voltigeurs, before finishing it off next Tuesday with a potentially pretty important date with the Moncton Wildcats.

The stretch drive is really heating up, as the Eagles still have about 1/3 of their home schedule remaining for the regular season. Get yourself down to C200 to watch this team gear up for the playoffs!


Anonymous said...

These past games on the weekend were spectacular. Expecially the game on saturday. Friday's game was mostly a battle of the goalies, and Pavelec proved to be better, which isn't shocking seeing he is now at his normal self .. which is completly amazing. As for the goals coming from "unlikly" sources saturday, I think the whole team effort was great. The whole team worked very hard for both of the victories. I would like to see what the result would have been if lewiston had their top 2 players in, though im sure that Pavelec could have handled Cliche and one of the eagles could have solved Bernier. Hopefully the eagles can rack up 2 wins this weekend, and wrap up the home stand with one more victory against the Moncton Wildcats. GO EAGLES GO!

Anonymous said...

Tired of hearing who lewiston didn't have in their lineup 4 points is 4 points, very critical to moving the eagles closer to top spot in their division.Solid game on both nights for the boys,and by the way the eagles could have won any of the road games they just came back from way to go eagles keep up the good work. Lets show the rest of the league what we are made of.Not just one or two lines we have four solid lines and two great goalies.lets finish off this homestand with 3 more w's."GO EAGLES GO"

Anonymous said...

Well, this past weekend's games were amazing. I want to tip my hat to Ondrej Pavelec, who played two AMAZING games this past weekend. The boys all around played excellently, and I was quite proud. I also just want to add that the boys seemed so up in spirits at Boston Pizza last night and they seemed to raise quite a bit of money. Thanks guys and good luck this weekend. Show those Oceanic what we're made of...GO EAGLES GO!!

tommy said...

I think it's important for a team that has a lot of talent and potential to struggle midway through the season. If winning becomes easy, when it really counts (playoffs) they will not be able to overcome when it's necessary.

They need to learn how to dig deep, battle it out, and just plain grind out a win even if they didn't deserve it. This helps build chemistry, respect, and trust between the players.

I think the poor 4 game road trip was a positive thing. Now they know what they need to play 60 min, and play it tough, intelligent, and with intensity.

This will only benefit them in the post season, the real season.

Anonymous said...

The games this weekend are going to be critcally important the eagles win before going back out on
the road. Rimouski is now on a four
game winning streak, so I wouldn't
under estimate what they will do on Friday. The whole team is going to have to be at their best, and for goalies, i'd like to see Pavelec play the rest of the 3, and i'd say he probally will. He is doing so well, so making him sit off a game might not be the best thing for him. Not like the games are back to back anyways. The game against Moncton will be important, seeing we are so close to them. I wonder what it will be like, considering how CLOSE the last 2 games in Moncton were. The games this weekend are going to be great, so GO EAGLES GO!

Anonymous said...

couldn't agree more ...

CB Eagle Fan said...

What is it about Friday's and nasty weather!! At least it doesn't seem as bad as last Friday, but I don't like the sound of "freezing rain in the change over". That being said, I will still be at the game this evening, even if I have to skate down off the dirt road I live on! Even though Rimouski is struggling in their "post-Sidney" seasons, they are still a team that the Eagles have to contend with. We do seem to step it up to a higher level for the top teams, and get a little relaxed with the teams which are below us in the standings. However, the team is on such a home-game streak, that I'm sure they'll take every team seriously. They'll want to break that record tonight, and the fans will be cheering them on! From any fans' point of view, a winning streak at home is great (a winning streak away would be nice too) and keeps us coming back for more!
So let's go Eagles. Take down Rimouski tonight, and Drummondville on Sunday so that we can welcome Moncton with open arms on Tuesday. Moncton plays tonight as well, but then is off until they play here. With two wins, the Eagles can overtake the Wildcats before Tuesday! Should set us up for a barn-burner of a game against Moncton!! But we need those two wins first! GO EAGLES GO!
I would also like to send congrats to Ondrej Pavelec. What a week, and month!! QMJHL defensive player of the week, QMJHL defensive player of the month, AND CHL goaltender of the week! Talk about your "hat trick"!!