Push­ing back

Isles with­stand Scream­ing Ea­gles’ third-pe­riod push in 4-2 vic­tory

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - THE GUARDIAN

The Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders didn’t fold when pushed Fri­day by the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles.

Trail­ing 3-0 af­ter two pe­ri­ods, the vis­it­ing Scream­ing Ea­gles scored two power-play goals less than six min­utes into the third pe­riod to cut the deficit to one. They out­shot the Is­lan­ders 13-3 in the fi­nal 20 min­utes, but couldn’t beat goalie Ma­son McDon­ald for the equal­izer.

Sa­muel Blais scored his se­cond of the game with 6:13 to play to give the home side a 4-2 lead they would not re­lin­quish in Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League ac­tion.

“When they had a push, we had a push back, and that’s what we need to do more of­ten,” McDon­ald said. “We have to re­al­ize good teams are go­ing to score. . . . We just have to push back and we did a good job of that tonight.”

Blais’s in­sur­ance goal came off a pass by Daniel Sprong, his third as­sist of the night, but it was Guillaume Beaudry, who kept the puck in at the blue­line to en­able the scor­ing chance to oc­cur.

In the fi­nal minute, Scream­ing Ea­gles right-winger Gio­vanni Fiore was sprung on a break­away. McDon­ald made the stop to pre­vent mo­men­tum from swing­ing back to Cape Bre­ton.

“That’s huge,” Is­lan­ders cen­tre Jake Cough­ler said. “Mase was our back­bone all night long. He made key stops for us.”

McDon­ald was also helped out a cou­ple of times when Cape Bre­ton skaters beat the 19-year-old goalie, but their shots rang off the iron.

The first pe­riod went by quick, with few stop­pages in the ac­tion and no goals.

Oliver Cooper, in his first game af­ter be­ing named the Is­lan­ders cap­tain, pot­ted a re­bound off an Alexis Vanier point shot for a power-play goal seven min­utes into the se­cond. Blais and Filip Ch­lapik scored in the fi­nal 2:10 of the pe­riod to make it 3-0.

“We had a good forecheck, they had some turnovers and we scored big goals,” Blais said. “That’s two im­por­tant points for us and we need to have two more to­mor­row.”

The teams meet again at 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Cen­tre.

The Is­lan­ders (20-22-5-2) are six points back of the eighth­place Scream­ing Ea­gles (24-214-1) with a game in hand.

Char­lot­te­town has earned 18 of a pos­si­ble 28 points since Christ­mas and is 5-1-2-0 in the last eight games.

Cape Bre­ton was with­out its lead­ing scorer in Pierre-Luc Dubois on Fri­day as he played in the BMO CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game Thurs­day in Van­cou­ver.

The left-winger has 30 goals and 38 as­sists for 68 points in 46 games.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles de­fence­man Dun­can MacIn­tyre, right, knocks the puck away from Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders cen­tre Jake Cough­ler Fri­day at the Eastlink Cen­tre.

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