SYDNEY- It was a game for the ages as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles finally punched their ticket to round two with an electrifying overtime victory over the Gatineau Olympiques. After letting a 3-0 in the series slip away, the Screaming Eagles waited until the extra session of the deciding match to eliminate the Olympiques. It’s the first time in three playoff series Cape Breton has eliminated Gatineau.
Gatineau was left with five defenseman for the rest of the game and the two teams played four on four after the initial penalty to Cape Breton expired. It was with the extra space that Drake Batherson opened the scoring for the Eagles. In an attempt to dig out the puck Batherson fluttered the puck high into the air and took a fortunate bounce over Tristan Bérubé. Centre 200 groaned as the play went to video review, as Batherson had multiple goals disallowed earlier in the series. This time, the goal would stand as Cape Breton took a 1-0 lead.
After the Batherson goal the Eagles would double their lead, twice. First it was the birthday boy, Ty Fournier, who took advantage of a rebound in the Olympique zone and put it through Bérubé to double the advantage. The Fournier marker was cancelled out after Shawn Boudrias floated a shot that just grazed Kyle Jessiman’s glove and down into the Eagles goal. But another Olympiques turnover- by Jake Barter on the boards- allowed Massimo Carozza to spin into the third Cape Breton goal of the opening period.
Gatineau trailed by two heading into the second period, and still by the halfway mark of regulation. But that was quickly rectified not long after- Anthony Gagnon did his own spinarama type move in front of the goal for his first of the series at the 10:31 mark. Then just eight seconds later, Alexandre Landreville fired a shot that would re-direct and trick Jessiman to tie the game.
Carozza would get his club back on track though, just over a minute later, cashing in front of the net at the 11:56 mark. Cape Breton held the advantage 4-3 and that would hold through the first twelve minutes of a very tentative third period. However, Fournier was sent to the box for interference with under eight minutes to play and that would create the window needed for Gatineau.
To this point in the the series, the Olympiques were 3-0 when scoring a power play goal. The team had to be feeling the confidence again when Yakov Trenin tied the game. The Eagles kept the Gatineau power play to the outside before Trenin flipped a shot through the legs of Jessiman on a sharp angle. There would be no scoring in the final 6:54 of the middle stanza and the two teams were headed for the extra session.
With the exception of game six, every game at Centre 200 of this series went to overtime. Game one had been decided quickly, and while game seven was not quite as fast it would follow a familiar script, with a finish that sent the fans at the Nest home happy. Vasily Glotov drove to the left side of the goal, and when Bérubé made the save the rebound bounced out to Fournier. The birthday boy wasted no time slamming it home- at the 2:30 mark of overtime- and the Eagles poured onto the ice in celebration of their playoff victory.
Tuesday night’s game marked the end of the QMJHL careers of Zack MacEwen, Daniel Del Paggio, and Marc-Olivier Crevier Morin as the three played this season as twenty year olds for Gatineau this season.
Jessiman picked up the win, stopping stopping 26 of 30 shots. Bérubé allowed five on 37 shots, to take the loss- the first game of the series in which he started that his team would lose.
For the second straight year the Screaming Eagles will head to the second round, and for the first time ever they’ll be taking on their divisional rival the Charlottetown Islanders. Charlottetown has home ice advantage in the series that will be contested under a 2-2-1-1-1 format. Game one goes Thursday night at 7 PM and you can catch all the action on 1270 AM CJCB or online at http://www.cjcbradio.com.
1. Ty Fournier (Cape Breton) 2 goals, overtime winner, 4 shots
2. Massimo Carozza (Cape Breton) 2 goals, 7 shots, +2
3. Drake Batherson (Cape Breton) 1 goal, 1 assist,+2
Scratches For Cape Breton: Olivier Bourret, Logan O’Neil
Scratches For Gatineau: Ryan O’Bonsawin, Eric Eschweiler, Mathieu Bellemarre (injury)
Final Shots On Goal: 37-30 in favour of Cape Breton
Cape Breton Power Play: 0/4
Gatineau Power Play: 1/5