Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ouch!!! Eagles blown away by rival Mooseheads

It was expected that last night's game against the Halifax Mooseheads at the Halifax Metro Centre would be a tough one, but I don't think anybody saw that kind of a skunking coming.

The Screaming Eagles suffered a thoroughly embarassing 9-5 loss to the younger, less experienced Mooseheads last night, in what was said to be a really entertaining contest played before a packed house in Halifax.

The last time this blogger can recall the Eagles giving up nine goals in a hockey game was back in March 2001, in a 9-3 loss to the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Last night's game was therefore the first time in six years that the team gave up that many goals. I guess that statistic is a bit of a double-edged sword; on one hand, it's a testament to the strong team defence the Eagles have played year-in and year-out that they went six years without giving up nine goals in a hockey game. But on the other hand, the fact that the team gave up more goals than they had in any game for the previous six years shows what a truly atrocious defensive performance last night's game was!

One bright spot for the Eagles was the play of Cam Fergus, who scored two goals and an assist, upping him to 53 goals on the season. Dean Ouellet, Chris Culligan, and JC Gauthier also scored for Cape Breton.

For Halifax, Bryce Swan and Peter-James Corsi both scored twice. Swan, a Cape Breton native, always seems to kill the Screaming Eagles when he plays against them, which is obviously frustrating. Justin Pender, Daniel Smith, Ryan Seymour, Garrett Peters, and Ryan Hillier rounded out the balanced Halifax attack.

Incredibly, the Eagles lost the game 9-5 despite outshooting the Mooseheads 43-28 in the contest. How Cape Breton managed to give up 9 goals on 28 shots I truly do not know, but it's safe to say that we are used to seeing better defense and goaltending than that. Starting netminder Ondrej Pavelec was pulled after 4 goals on 14 shots, and obviously had a poor night, but can't be faulted too too much because it's really his first off game in a long time. David Davenport, however, had his second poor outing in a row, which has me wondering if maybe being left on the bench for so long was detrimental to "Double D's" development (please note the alliteration!).

Brendon MacDonald attempted to spark the team by engaging in a great fight with Halifax captain Ryan Seymour, and doing pretty well for himself, but Alex Quesnel's spark and spunk went a little bit too far, as he was ejected early in the game for a check from behind on Moose defender Guillaume Monast. Hopefully he will not end up facing suspension for the unintentional, but unfortunate and reckless, hit.

The Eagles' record on the season against Halifax now drops to 4-5, and their record at the Metro Centre finishes up at an inexplicable and quite frankly unacceptable 1-4. In the team's defense, Halifax is the only club to have a winning record against the Screaming Eagles this season, and is the only team to have defeated Cape Breton more than twice (thanks to Matthew Wuest of the Halifax Daily News for pointing that tidbit out).

It is also especially disappointing that the team would manage to come up with a dud of a game like that after dropping a game to the last place overall Saint John Sea Dogs. You would think that after losing to the Sea Dogs, a team would come out with a huge effort next game, not a shellacking at the hands of their provincial rivals.

Cape Breton now risks entering the playoffs on a sour losing streak, which makes the final two home games of the season this weekend all that much more important. History shows that it is not a very good idea for Eagles teams to enter the playoffs on a losing note. There should be two large, partisan crowds on hand this weekend, and two great efforts would go a long way towards erasing the last two ugly losses.

The nine goals against also really damaged the club's chances of finishing with the league's best defensive record. They entered the game with 188 goals against, three fewer than Lewiston's 191, but now sit at 197 goals against.

Not much else to say about this one; it was a game to forget.

Hopefully the Eagles will find their mojo again starting on Friday night, at home against Bathurst, in those beautiful St. Patrick's Day duds!


Anonymous said...

Now lets look at the previous two games from an outside perspective and not rose colored tinted glasses.
The game in Saint John on Sunday was, to put it bluntly, an embarressment. I know that it was the Saint John's last home game of the year, and we wanted to let our Maritime neighbor have a good fairwell, but did we need to have so many passengers. We have on our team many "B" players, and when they do not pursue 100% effort they become "C" or even lower. We had many of those on Sunday, from the Coaches on down. Our stars showed up, but in order for our team to be successful we always have to bring our "A" game. We are not that good when our players and coaches don't give it all and feel they have to react to the score instead of setting the tone.
There are two things you have to tell a player: either let the game come to you or go and chase the game. Luc Bourdon is stuck in the middle. When he is agressive, he is overly and the team pays the price. When he has to be told to chase the game he dives in and creates odd man rushes on the back end. You have a job to do Pascal.
As far as the Halifax game goes, we blew two very important goals that a team sets before the start of the season; to be the best defensive team and have the best keeper. Pascal pulling our #1 after 4 goals was a slap in the face for the team at this stage. I believe firmly in my heart that he would have given up no more goals, and we would have won the game. The backup keeper, and that is all he is, cannot win you a game. Once one goal goes in, look at his slumping shoulders and wonder, can he do the job for us. I doubt it.
So we have lost the goals against and unless our #1 has two good results, less than 6 goals given up this weekend, the Plante award is gone.
Since the inception of the Nova Scotia riverly, these games have been intense, rarely boring and full of payback, we need payback on Sunday, nothing else will be acceptable.
We cannot look ahead to Sunday by not giving it our "A" game, see above, on Friday. The crowd will be playoff intense and expects our boys to show everything they have.
The game is made up of adjustments pre, during and postgame.
In order to be successful you must have three things going for you: 1)skill level and talent, 2) prepared and intelligent, 3) emotion.
We have the first two every game but the third is lacking sometimes.
We have watched you since training camp and know when players are not approaching 100% effort with emotion.

Robye said...

Not too much to say about our last three road games. When you only get 1 game out of three and that's against a 14th place team and a last place team, things arn''t looking that great going into the playoffs. The results will probably help me decide if next years season tickets are worth it.

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that the Moose have been riding a winning streak and were fairly confident going into the game. It's playoff time - and Halifax knows it.

The Eagles on the other hand had just lost an embarrassing game to the worst team in the league. Maybe that was a big blow to their confidence - or maybe it was the 9,600 boisterous fans that made a difference. Who knows... but hopefully they get it together for the playoffs.

tommy said...

They lost the 2nd game in St. John because of 2 reasons in my opinion, 1) they whooped them 8-1 the previous night and I would say they entered the game somewhat overconfident 2) they threw a cold backup goaltender into a situation that had no positive consequence no matter what the outcome.

They lost to Halifax for a number of reasons, many I can't even think of or even make up, but one of the main reasons would be that Pavelec lost his groove as I mentioned in a previous post. The team also has a habbit of not performing well in Hfx for whatever reason.

I think Pavelec will be fine going into the playoffs (hope anyway), I'm more worried about the coaching situation, this is the make or break year for Pascal and his staff to prove something to the fans of CB. I hope he's learned from previous playoff disappointments and adjusts accordingly or it's going to be another early exit.

To the anonymous poster regarding the "B" and "C" players, having many "B" players is a great thing, not a bad thing. That means you have depth on the team. It's important for every player to play 100%, or even the high profile players look ordinary. And while I agree that Pascal's coaching isn't always the greatest, pulling the goalie after 4 goals was his way of trying to wake his team up, and I think he did the right thing. The team just didn't respond. Not much else you can do after that.

Anonymous said...

The eagles fans always show up, but few show the team that they are there for them. Eagles fans are too quiet! I noticed more recently that Number 12 is coming alive and using his body a bit more. I am sure there is much more in him and I am hoping we get to see it during the playoffs. He's clean and that is great, but show them you can be the boss! I'm starting to see a great Sawyer! There are some great players, 15, 9, 14, 27, etc., but we now need all of the others to come alive like they were playing for the Stanley Cup. They also need to get a little tougher around their own net. While I don't go to games to see fighting, there are times when someone needs to drop their gloves. Gallant has talent on the ice as a player and there are many times he shows he has a good head on his shoulders, but he can't be the only one with bleeding knuckles. They need to shot more at the net. Goals count whether they are pretty or not. There appears to be a lot of passing, which at times has me wondering if their not killing too many penalties for the opponents. I will certainly admit it is easier to see the opportunities from the stands and there are some who holler a little too much at our players when they miss that obvious (to us) passing opportunity. BUT fans, especially those who can't skate should realize the ice surface is a lot different than the stands. (Keep your negative thoughts to yourseves while in the stands) We need to encourage them, becauae frankly that is what they need. Maybe they need a sit down with Dean. Why do I say that? Number 9, in my opinion shows an enormous amount of spirit every time he gets on the ice. This guy should inspire others to do the same. He is always 100%. Also, I said to my wife the first game I saw Paul play his first few minutes at Center 200 that he will be one to watch. Number 27 also has an enormous amount of energy while on the ice. There are others, Fergus, an obvious, but almost enough said. In conclusion, I am extremely impressed with Sheppard. This guy is a joy to watch anywhere on the ice. Proud that he likes the corners to. This is a star who doesn't need protection. He obviously is a different player this year over last. While I don't want him in the penalty box, he's not afraid to go there.

P. S. I never criticize the team while watching, regardless of what you do!

Good luck guys,

just a old guy from the old days when the NHL was six teams, and Saturday night hockey was hamburgers and home made fries, while watching and listening to my father screaming at the Canadiens. (He hated them)

Anonymous said...

As a true Eagles fan who attends all Eagles/Moosehead games in Halifax I get alot of teasing from my Moosehead fan friends. Usually I don't quit till the end - winning or losing!! This time it was different - I was sooooooooooo embarassed that I just wanted to go home. I couldn't even watch ay some points. IT was ridiculous.