The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles came back from a 2-0 first period deficit today to earn a 5-2 win over the Victoriaville Tigres, who as mentioned earlier, entered the game 21-4-1 at home.
This is a huge win for the Eagles, as it puts them at two-for-two on this road trip thus far. Most importantly, it allowed them to keep pace with the Lewiston MAINEiacs heading into tomorrow's crucial matchup. Lewiston won their game tonight against Drummondville, so the Eagles still trail them by four points, with the opportunity to cut the deficit to a mere two with a win tomorrow.
For the second game in a row, the Eagles were paced by the new combination of Chris Culligan, James Sheppard, and Robert Slaney. Culligan had three points (1G 2A), Sheppard had four points (1G 3A, 1st star honours), and Slaney had the biggest game of his Q career to date with two goals and two assists for four points. Slaney now has nine points in his last three games, and has been generally on fire since being placed on that line with Culligan and Sheppard. He has been asked to play many different roles this season, including even a lengthy stint on defence, and has been a workhorse in every one of them, so it's great to see Robert enjoying such success on the scoresheet lately.
Paul McIlveen scored the other goal for the Eagles on a brilliant individual effort, and Ondrej Pavelec earned the win in goal by making 23 stops and being named third star of the game.
Big, big win against a very good team in a very tough place to steal the two points.
Tomorrow's game in Lewiston is absolutely huge and needs no further billing. Win and we're just two points back of them, lose and we fall down to six back. If ever the old cliches about "four point games" are going to apply, it is for games like this one.
We need Pavelec to continue his mastery of the Colisee in Lewiston (he has a huge track record for standing on his head in that building), and it would be great if that Sheppard line could continue its excellent play, along with getting some offensive help from the other forward lines and the powerplay, which has been the team's one glaring weakness on this road trip (0/12 in the last two games).
Peter Delmas should start in goal for the MAINEiacs, as Jonathan Bernier remains out of the lineup with that ankle injury suffered a few weeks back in Halifax. Marc-Andre Cliche, however, is back in Lewiston's lineup after missing the two hockey games played in Cape Breton between the two teams two weekends ago.
From the Cape Breton side of the ice, Cam Fergus may return for tomorrow's game after missing the last four games with a back injury. I'm sure he's hungry to get back at it after watching the last couple of games from the broadcast booth while doing colour on the radio with Ken MacNeil!
It's our team's third game in three days, but with two wins already on this trip, let's hope that the boys running on adrenaline more than they are suffering from fatigue. Tired or not, they know how big this Lewiston game is; they've likely been looking ahead to it all trip. They're going to be ready, Lewiston is going to be ready (and very much wanting revenge for the sweep in CB), and it should be a great hockey game.
It all gets underway with a 4:30 PM pre-game show and 5:00 PM puck drop on CJCB AM 1270. You don't wanna miss a minute of this one!