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Eagles Top Phoenix To Open Road Trip
Cape Breton, Screaming Eagles

SHERBROOKE- The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have started their longest road trip of the season in the win column. Kevin Mandolese shone between the pipes and Giovanni Fiore notched three points in a 4-1 victory Friday night over the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

It was a fast start for the visitors as Phélix Martineau opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the contest. Martineau dangled his way into the slot and found a way to lift the puck into the goal while falling to find the first goal of the game. Both teams had their share of shots- they were 15-13 in favour of the Phoenix after the opening twenty minutes- but Cape Breton held the 1-0 advantage after the first siren.

Mandolese shone in the middle period, in particular the early portion of the frame, as Sherbrooke sent 21 shots the way of the Eagle keeper. Despite that and two early man advantages, the Phoenix could not find the back of the net. However the Cape Breton power play would connect, as Ross MacDougall jumped into the play and was left all alone on the right side of the ice. He fired the puck into the open part of the goal on a rebound and doubled the lead which would hold going to the second intermission.

Just before the halfway mark of the middle frame Sherbrooke would get its break through on the power play. With plenty of traffic out in front of the goal, Nicolas Poulin put the puck over the shoulder of Kevin Mandolese to halve the Cape Breton advantage. Mandolese protested that there was goaltender interference but the goal stood.

There would be a quick response from the Eagles, however, as Tyler Hylland would score just 48 seconds later. Following a Ty Fournier shot off a faceoff win, Hylland would cash in on a rebound to make it a 3-1 game at the 10:19 mark. Cape Breton would hold on to the lead but towards the end of regulation would be tested by penalty trouble.

With under four minutes to play Adam McCormick would head to the penalty box for tripping, and Sherbrooke coach Stéphane Julien called a timeout and elected to lift goaltender Evan Fitzpatrick in favour of an extra attacker and a 6 on 4 advantage. The Cape Breton penalty kill went to work, but with seven seconds remaining in the McCormick minor Sacha Roy would be banished for cross-checking.

Short handed for the rest of the game including a brief 6 on 3 disadvantage, the Screaming Eagles would hold on. Giovanni Fiore found the empty net for his league leading 41st goal of the season to seal and to clinch a 4-1 victory for Cape Breton.

Due to injuries to Peyton Hoyt and Olivier LeBlanc, Drake Batherson serving the third game of a four game suspension and Declan Smith and Yannik Bertrand missing the contest due to illness, the Eagles only dressed 17 skaters. One of those skaters, Marcus Tesink, is still recovering from an upper body injury and while he skated in warmup did not actually appear on the ice during the game.

Gabriel Proulx was called up by Cape Breton for the contest and would make his QMHL debut. The 17 year old forward was drafted by the Screaming Eagles in the eighth round in 2016. In Friday’s contest he would register one shot and finished as a +1, as he was on the ice for Hylland’s goal.

Mandolese picked up the victory, stopping 45 of 46 shots. Fitzpatrick allowed three goals on 27 shots prior to the empty netter.

The road trip next brings Cape Breton to Victoriaville for an afternoon game against the Tigres on Sunday. The puck will drop at 4 PM Atlantic time. You can hear all the action on 1270 AM CJCB or online at http://www.cjcbradio.com. The game will also be televised on TVA Sports.

Three stars:
1. Kevin Mandolese (Cape Breton) 45 saves on 46 shots
2. Giovanni Fiore (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 2 assists, +2
3. Julien Pelletier (Sherbrooke) 5 shots, 1 hit

Scratches For Cape Breton: Peyton Hoyt (injury) Drake Batherson (suspension), Olivier LeBlanc (lower body injury), Declan Smith (illness), Yannik Bertrand (illness)

Scratches For Sherbrooke: Evan MacKinnon (injury), Alexander Krief (injury), Yaroslav Alexeyev (personal), Marek Zachar (injury), Anderson MacDonald (injury)

Final Shots On Goal: 46-28 in favour of Sherbrooke

Cape Breton Power Play: 1/2

Sherbrooke Power Play: 1/7

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