SYDNEY- Massimo Carozza wore the hero’s cap for the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles with the shootout winner in a wildly entertaining 3-2 victory over the Val-d’Or Foreurs on Sunday afternoon.
Both teams would have their chances in an opening period that saw no goals but plenty of opportunities. Cape Breton outshot Val-d’Or 9-7 in the opening frame on the strength of three power plays and both clubs could lay claim to several quality shots that missed the net.
Finally the man advantage would play off for Cape Breton as Drake Batherson would catch a bounce off the boards and put the Screaming Eagles on the board just past the halfway point of regulation. The power play would also almost backfire on the Eagles when François Beauchemin would come in on a shorthanded breakaway and hit the crossbar. He wasn’t able to score on that play, but he did set up Mathieu Nadeau for the tying goal with just 62 seconds left in the second stanza. Cape Breton netminder Kevin Mandolese got across in time but couldn’t get all of the puck.
The home team would use the extra man again in the third period, though, to pull ahead once more in period three. On the power play, Eagles rookie blueliner quickly unleashed a shot that found the top corner over Dereck Baribeau to put Cape Breton ahead 2-1. But Val-d’Or would counter with a power play marker of their own, as Beauchemin parked at the edge of the blue point and flipped it to Nadeau in front of the net for the tying goal.
Heading into the final few minutes, each squad had earned two power play opportunities in the third period. Cape Breton would have one final chance at a conveniently timed penalty at the 18:00 mark. The Eagles were unable to score and the game headed to overtime.
QMJHL rules dictate that overtime be played at 3 on 3 but only 35 seconds of this extra session was played at 3 on 3. To begin the five minutes the Foreurs were on the man advantage with Ty Fournier in the box. Cape Breton killed the penalty and drew their own power play which would begin at the next stoppage. Finally after Val-d’Or killed off the penalty to David Henley and a whistle was blown shortly after, the teams briefly played 3 on 3 but neither could find a goal.
Goals were not easy to come in the shootout either – neither team scored in the first round of the shootout and both second shooters, Mathieu Nadeau and Giovanni Fiore, failed to hit the net. After Mandolese turned aside Nicolas Ouellet, Pierre-Luc Dubois had the chance to play the hero in his final game in Cape Breton before world junior training camp- but he was denied by Baribeau.
Mandolese was equal to the task though, as Beauchemin was unable to score, setting the stage for Carozza. The overage Eagles forward would find the back of the net. There was a delayed celebration as the Foreurs questioned if the net was off at the time the puck crossed the line but a review proved it to be a good goal and the Eagles had their third home ice victory in four games and are unbeaten in regulation in eight straight at Centre 200.
Mandolese turned aside 22 shots (prior to the shootout) in the victory. Baribeau stopped 33 of 35 shots before allowing one goal on four shots in the shootout.
Cape Breton missed the services of both Yannik Bertrand and Sacha Roy to suspension. Bertrand is eligible to return next game while Roy still has to serve another three games.
Next up is the battle of Nova Scotia on Saturday night as the Eagles play host to their arch-rivals the Halifax Mooseheads. It’s also the annual teddy bear toss game, in addition to being Sydney Minor Hockey night at the Nest. Puck drop is at 7 PM. Tickets for the game can be purchased at Centre 200 box office, by calling 902-564-2200 or online at https://tickets.capebreton.ca/Online/default.asp
1. Adam McCormick (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Mathieu Nadeau (Val-d’Or) 2 goals
3. Drake Batherson (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 1 assist
Scratches For Cape Breton: Sacha Roy (suspension), Yannik Bertrand (suspension), Leon Gawanke (Division 1A World Juniors)
Scratches For Val-d’Or: Etienne Monpetit (injury), Tyler Higgins, Yohan Plamondon
Final Shots On Goal: 35-24 in favour of Cape Breton
Cape Breton Power Play: 2/9
Val-d’Or Power Play: 1/5