Apparently the sharp new St. Patrick's Day uniforms weren't enough to fire up the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles last night, as they looked flat and rather emotionless for the most part in a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Bathurst Titan in front of a crowd well over 4000.
The Eagles mustered just 15 shots and very few real scoring chances over the first two periods, as they looked especially flat in period #2. In the third, Cape Breton outshot Bathurst 19-6 in a last ditch effort to tie the contest, and came close when Paul McIlveen was awarded a penalty shot with 1:55 to go, but it was not to be. They really didn't deserve to go to overtime any points last night anyway after the way they played the first two stanzas.
The powerplay was a big reason for the loss last night. It went 0-for-7, including just one shot on goal on the first four powerplay attempts. As well, a six-on-four advantage in the final minute of the game produced few decent scoring chances.
One bright spot in the game is that the Titan dynamic duo of Thomas Beauregard and Mathieu Perreault was held to a combined one assist. A lot of credit for this has to go to the line of Chris Culligan, James Sheppard, and Scott Brannon/Robert Slaney, as that line was matched up against those Titan snipers all game.
Speaking of Culligan, he had the lone Cape Breton goal, and it was a beauty snipe to the top corner glove side on Titan goaltender Brant Miller. Miller stopped everything else that came his way to earn first star honours.
Not much else to say about this one, it was a game to forget from C200. Perhaps the fact that the game was meaningless to the Eagles in the standings had a bit to do with their subpar effort, but you would think that after being thumped 9-5 by their biggest rivals on Tuesday, they would come out fired up in the next game.
Any way you slice it, three losses in a row this close to the playoffs makes fans a bit uneasy.
A better effort to finish off the season in style on Sunday is essential. With the otherwise excellent season the team has had, it would be pretty anticlimactic to finish it off with four straight losses.
With the St. John's Fog Devils' win and the Shawinigan Cataractes' loss last night, it is now official:
The Eagles will be playing the St. John's Fog Devils in the first round of the 2007 QMJHL playoffs.
A preview of the series, and an in-depth look at the Fog Devils, should appear on here sometime this coming week.
The other East Division playoff series were also determined last night.
(1) Lewiston MAINEiacs vs (8) Shawinigan Cataractes
(3) Moncton Wildcats vs (6) Halifax Mooseheads
(4) PEI Rocket vs (5) Acadie-Bathurst Titan
The Telus Division, however, is still one big mumbo-jumbo heading into tomorrow, the final day of the regular season. Anybody could still pretty much play anybody!