The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles said goodbye to 2016 by sweeping the Halifax Mooseheads to claim the first ever Hurley Cup. Drake Batherson finished the scoring in the first leg of the two game Hurley Cup, and he would open the scoring in the second leg, a game Cape Breton never trailed and would win 5-2. The Screaming Eagles captured the Cup on aggregate by a score of 11-5 over two games.
Batherson opened the scoring on the power play, given ample time to slam home a rebound at the side of the net to put the Eagles up 1-0 at the 5:57 mark. Exactly six minutes later, Halifax rookie Raphael Lavoie would tie the game with his first ever goal in the QMJHL. Lavoie settled the bouncing puck down and slapped a shot from the top of the circles past Kevin Mandolese.
But Cape Breton would leave the opening period with the lead when Vasily Glotov scooped a rebound that Blade Mann-Dixon failed to cover and the Russian forward snapped it into the Moosehead goal to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
Brad Kennedy would tie the game early in the middle stanza for Halifax, working down the right boards, cutting to the front of the net and snapping it by Mandolese. Halifax would outshoot Cape Breton 11-9 in the second frame but would still trail when heading to the dressing room. Phélix Martineau executed a perfect tip on a shot off the right side boards from Batherson for a power play marker and the Eagles carried a 3-2 advantage into the third period.
Yannik Bertrand would push the margin to two goals for the first time on the day early in the third period, with an impressive piece of stick handling followed by a backhander into the top right corner. Giovanni Fiore would finish the day’s scoring in the final minute as Halifax coach André Tourigny elected to lift Mann-Dixon for an extra attacker. Massimo Carozza would flip a pass from behind the goal line to Fiore in the crease to make the final score 5-2.
A number of players missed the game as a result of events from Friday night’s contest between the two teams in Sydney. Peyton Hoyt was given a one game suspension for a hit on Lavoie, while Halifax’s Jocktan Chainey has been suspended indefinitely for a hit on Tyler Hylland. Hylland also missed the game due to a concussion suffered on the play.
Following the game there was a trophy presentation to the Screaming Eagles, who captured the first ever Hurley Cup. The trophy is an addition to the annual holiday series which sees Cape Breton and Halifax were blue and white Nova Scotian themed uniforms. The cup was presented to Eagles captain Olivier LeBlanc by members of the Kings Edgehill school hockey teams, include Drake Batherson’s sister Anna Mae Batherson.
Mandolese picked up the victory in goal, stopping 23 of 25 shots. Mann-Dixon took the loss, allowing four goals on 29 shots prior to the empty netter.
Cape Breton finishes the year 2016 in eighth place in the QMJHL standings. The 2017 schedule begins Wednesday night in Saint John when the Eagles visit the Sea Dogs with a 7 PM puck drop. You can hear all the action on 1270 AM CJCB or online at http://www.cjcbradio.com
1. Drake Batherson (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Leon Gawanke (Cape Breton) 2 assists
3. Raphael Lavoie (Halifax) 1st career goal, +1
Scratches For Cape Breton: Tyler Hylland (concussion), Peyton Hoyt (suspension), Pierre-Luc Dubois (World Juniors)
Scratches For Halifax: Jocktan Chainey (suspension), Nico Hischier (World Juniors), Barrett Dachyshyn (injury), Walter Flower (injury), Connor Moynihan (upper body injury)
Final Shots On Goal: 30-25 in favour of Cape Breton
Cape Breton Power Play: 2/4
Halifax Power Play: 1/6