Isles withstand Screaming Eagles’ third-period push in 4-2 victory
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.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles defenceman Duncan MacIntyre, right, knocks the puck away from Charlottetown Islanders centre Jake Coughler Friday at the Eastlink Centre.