The "unsung hero" local boy is unsung no more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris Culligan made Eagle history in a plethora of ways tonight, by scoring the game winner in Game 3 of this league semifinal series vs Val d'or in overtime ON A PENALTY SHOT.
For those of you who aren't quite aware how rare an occurrence that is, I'd say it ranks up there as pretty much the Halley's Comet of hockey......... a playoff overtime winner on a penalty shot. ESPECIALLY as far into the postseason as the third round.
Utter delirium ensued in the C200 crowd, with many speculating that the crowd reaction for the goal was the most emotional ever seen since the Screaming Eagles came to town. This blogger remembers a couple of goals in the 2002 Halifax series that at least give it a run for its money, but no matter - it was definitely a moment that will live on for a long, long time......... especially if the Eagles go on to win the series.
The "made for Hollywood" overtime winner saved the Eagles from what could have been a crushing defeat, as they had blown leads of 3-0 and 4-3 earlier in the game.
In the two games in Val d'or, Culligan had just one assist while James Sheppard was held pointless. They needed to come up big tonight, and did they ever respond. James scored a goal and an assist, while Chris had two goals and two assists including the potentially-legendary overtime winner.
What's weird about this is that Cape Breton fans didn't see a single game go to overtime all season or playoffs at C200 leading up to tonight. As well, only one Eagle game all season went into a penalty shot shootout. It was in Moncton. Wanna guess who scored the penalty winner for Cape Breton in that game? ;) One Chris Culligan, of course!
With that, Cape Breton takes a 2-1 lead in this ultra-tight semifinal series with Val d'or, with Game 4 going tomorrow night from C200. That is also historically significant in that a 2nd win in the 3rd round of the playoffs means that this year's Eagles have now officially gone farther in the postseason than any Eagle team has ever gone before. The 2002 Eagles lost the third round 4-1 in games.
Not much time to savour this win, right back to the rink for another HUGE game tomorrow. We let these guys back into this series once when they won Game 2 in Val d'or.............. we don't want to let them back in it a second time.
There could be pages and pages written on tonight's game, as it was one of the most exciting and action-packed Eagles games ever, but for now I'll just leave it all at that. Not much time to savour this win, as it's right back to the rink tomorrow night for another HUGE game. We let these guys back into the series once when they won Game 2 in Val d'or........... we don't want to let them back in it a second time. Be ready to bring the intensity just as loud and proud tomorrow night as you did this past night, Eagles fans. C200 was HOPPIN for Game 3, and the Eagle fanbase should be proud of a job very well done!
Finally, in terms of the raw collection of talent assembled on the ice, it may have been the highest calibre of hockey we've ever seen in a Cape Breton Screaming Eagles hockey game. These are two serious QMJHL heavyweights, both dotted with future NHLers, going toe-to-toe. It's a huge treat to watch, and anyone who wasn't at Game 3 owes it to themselves to get down to C200 tomorrow and Friday nights to see this stuff.
Despite tonight's deliriously gratifying win, we all know that the Eagles are capable of a better 60-minute performance. Let's hope we see that tomorrow night as the team strives to put a stranglehold on this series and go ahead three games to one.
See you at the rink!