A dominating first period set the pace as the Screaming Eagles topped the Moncton Wildcats 9-4 in the first of a two game set.
Cape Breton weathered some early penalty trouble- spending six of the first nine minutes short handed but outshooting the Wildcats 9-1 during that time frame. At even strength Massimo Carozza would open the scoring with a shot from the left circle at 2:42. In the final four minutes of the first frame the Eagles would open up the game with three goals to push the lead to 4-0.
Olivier LeBlanc started the parade with a power play backhand. Less than a minute later, Phélix Martineau would unleash a shot from the blueline to beat Dominik Tmej. Before period’s end Yannik Bertrand would push the margin to four goals.
Timej’s night would be over following the opening twenty minutes and he would be relieved by Matthew Waite. The new Cats keeper would be beaten 6:14 into the middle stanza on the power play by Drake Batherson. Moncton would counter with their own man advantage marker from Alexandre Renaud, who lifted it over Kevin Mandolese from the top of the circle and the shutout was broken.
Moncton inched into the game on a nifty passing play when Charles Taillon flipped the puck to Logan Johnston in front of the goal. But the three goal deficit did not last as Vasily Glotov would score for the home side on the power play. Glotov cut out from the corner and fired it into the top corner to make it a 6-2 game heading into the third period.
Giovanni Fiore would add to his league leading scoring title with the a short handed marker, the first of the third period. Fiore tried to wrap the puck around and it looked like Waite had saved the puck between his legs but it snuck through. After the goal the Eagle forward tapped his head and his shoulder, and stomped his skate on the ice in celebration of breaking a three game goalless drought, the longest he’s gone without a goal since November.
Fiore would hit the back of the net again, but not before Alexandre Renaud would score a pair of goals to complete a hat trick. Renaud’s first goal came on a 5 on 3, although the Cats could not score on the second part of the power play. With the margin three goals again with seven minutes to go, Bertrand would cash in with his second of the night.
With under five minutes to play, Fiore would hit #49 after a nice feed from Martineau. In the following moments the crowd would loudly buzz each time Fiore touched the puck in anticipation of #50, but there would no further scoring from him or anyone else on the ice and Cape Breton sealed the five goal victory.
Mandolese turned aside 24 of 28 shots in the win, while Waite took the loss in relief allowing five goals on 28 shots. Timej allowed four on 17 in his period of work.
The same two teams will match up tomorrow and its the final visit of the season for the Wildcats to Centre 200. Tickets for the games can be purchased at Centre 200 box office, by calling 902-564-2200 or online at https://tickets.capebreton.ca/Online/default.asp
Scratches For Cape Breton: Sacha Roy, Logan O’Neil
Scratches For Moncton: Mika Cyr (injury), Noah Massie
Final Shots On Goal: 45-28 in favour of Cape Breton
Cape Breton Power Play: 4/6
Moncton Power Play: 2/8