Tonight, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles start off an important three-game February road trip with a 9:00 PM ADT start from the Jacques Plante Arena, against the host Shawinigan Cataractes. It will be the first meeting of the season between the Eagles and the Cataractes; Shawinigan is the only team remaining that the Eagles have yet to play.
Shawinigan is a rebuilding club that sits in ninth place in the ten-team "Telus Division" with a 21-29-2-3 record for 47 points. They have been especially cold as of late, with five losses in a row and a 3-7-0 record in their last ten hockey games. They also have trouble scoring goals; their total of 180 goals is third-worst in the league. Despite all of this, the Cataractes cannot be taken for granted. Look no further than last Friday night's loss to Rimouski as evidence that nothing is ever a guarantee, even if the odds are stacked strongly in your favour. Their five losses in a row, and especially their four straight losses on home ice, could make the Cats really hungry for a win tonight. As well, playing a Cape Breton team that is perceived as a "top team" might give them a bit of a "nothing to lose" mentality, and teams that are playing with that mentality can be very dangerous. The Eagles are for sure the favourite tonight, but they will have to be on their toes, especially since the Arena Jacques Plante can be an intimidating building to play in.
No word yet on a starting goaltender for Cape Breton, but Kevin Malletto should be between the pipes for Shawinigan. Tonight's game is the Cataractes' third in three nights, and former Eagle Marc-Andre Perron got the start in each of the previous two.
INJURY REPORT for Cape Breton:
- Luc Bourdon (ankle) practiced yesterday in Riviere-Du-Loup and reportedly made it through the practice pretty well. He is listed as "probable" (but not definite) for tonight's game.
- Cam Fergus (back) also practiced yesterday, but didn't make it through the practice. He will definitely not be back in the lineup tonight, and will likely be given a little bit more time off than originally anticipated to ensure a full recovery. I'd guess that he may sit out this entire road trip.
- Dean Ouellet, after a premature return on Tuesday against Moncton, also felt pretty good in practice yesterday and while he's not quite back to 100% yet, he will play tonight in Shawinigan.
- Jonathan Laberge has returned to the Eagles after taking a few days off to return home and attend his grandfather's funeral. He'll be in the lineup tonight.
- Scott Brannon (concussion) is still a couple of weeks away from recovery, and did not even make the road trip.
So in summary, Laberge will definitely be added to the lineup that defeated Moncton on Tuesday night, and Bourdon has a pretty decent chance of being added back to it as well. Fergus and Brannon remain out of the lineup.
The Eagles continue the road trip Saturday night in Victoriaville, and finish it off Sunday with a very important meeting in Lewiston with the first place MAINEiacs.
The voting for the 10th anniversary all-time Screaming Eagles team will start soon! Fans will be asked to choose the top goaltenders, defencemen, forwards, and of course enforcers, from ten years of Screaming Eagles hockey. More details on the exact starting date for voting, and on the voting process itself, will become available once they are known, but the balloting should begin sooner rather than later.