The Screaming Eagles have certainly proven to be a thorn in the side of the Mooseheads this season and Cape Breton snapped Halifax’s four-game winning streak with a 4-2 win on home ice at Centre 200 in Sydney.
In nine games between the provincial rivals, the Mooseheads came away with five wins, three regulation losses and a shootout loss. Shawn Boudrias had the game-winning goal on Saturday while Leon Gawanke sealed the game with a long-distance empty net tally in the dying moments of the third period despite immense pressure from the Mooseheads.
Cape Breton had built a 3-1 lead by the 4:02 mark of the second period on three consecutive goals but Jared McIsaac pulled the Herd close with a big point blast off the draw late in the frame to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Mooseheads carried the momentum into the third period and got plenty of good shots on goalie Kevin Mandolese but couldn’t pull even. Halifax finished on top 35-20 in the shot department which helped the Eagles goalie earn the first star of the match.
Moose Head Coach Eric Veilleux pulled Alex Gravel with more than two minutes remaining and with his team dominating the puck possession it seemed like the move might pay off. Halifax moved the puck around and Captain Antoine Morand found BO Groulx in the slot for a one-timer on the weak side but it was cleared away and right to Gawanke who sent it the length of the ice and into the empty net with 1:30 to play.
Morand had put his team in front earlier in the game when he scored the opening goal just 3:54 into action but that proved to be the only lead of the night for the Mooseheads. The Eagles struck quickly on their first power play of the game when the puck found Derek Gentile in front of Gravel and he buried his shot only 17 seconds into the Walter Flower penalty. Cape Breton took the lead 75 seconds later as Mitchell Balmas scored his 34th of the year.
Boudrias gave his team a two-goal cushion early in the second period with a nice goal as the cut to the net from the left side and beat Gravel from in tight. McIsaac later scored as part of a very nice game by the Detroit Red Wings prospect. He had a goal on five shots and was a +2 previous to the empty net goal against. McIsaac hit the post late in the game and let his hard shot be known to the Eagles as well with both Gawanke and Declan Smith felled by his heavy blast. He was named the third star. Cape Breton’s Mathias Laferriere picked up second star with two assists.
Halifax went 0-2 on the power play while the Eagles cashed in once on three attempts.
Foward Kyle Petten was called up for the game and played on the fourth line with Samuel Dube and Brock McLeod. Petten has six goals and one assist in eight games with the Campbellton Tigers since being sent to Junior A by the Mooseheads last month. Cole Stewart, Ostap Safin, Maxim Trepanier, Jocktan Chainey and Jake Ryczek remain out with injuries for the Herd while Marcel Barinka is representing the Czech Republic at the Five Nations tournament in Sochi, Russia.
The Mooseheads (37-12-2-1) will return to action at home Monday and Tuesday with a pair of makeup games against Acadie-Bathurst and Saint John. Both games start at 7pm. Tickets are on sale now at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or charge by phone 902-451-1221.