CHL TV Game of the Week Preview: Eagles vs. Oceanic (Feb. 3, 2023)
The Cape Breton Eagles (18-25-3) will host the Rimouski Oceanic (25-21-2) in a Friday night edition of CHLTV Game of the Week.
Cape Breton returns home tonight after back-to-back road wins last weekend after taking down fellow Maritime squads Moncton and Acadie-Bathurst. Despite a sub. 500 record, the Eagles’ future is showing this season; eight of their regulars were 17 or younger on opening night, including three 2023 NHL Draft prospects in Cam Squires, Luke Patterson and Xavier Daigle.
The Eagles are involved in a dog-fight for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as they are one of five teams separated by just six points from sixth place through tenth.
Paced by Ivan Ivan, the Eagles’ 149 goals are tied for the fifth fewest in the QMJHL while their 194 goals against are the third most.
Rimouski, three times President Cup champions and most recently in 2015, sits third in the Eastern Conference although it has battled through a mild slump that has seen it win just four of its previous 10 games.
Despite trading away its top defenseman in Frederic Brunet (BOS), the Oceanic has remained steadfast defensively as its 151 goals against are the sixth fewest in the Q.
Like Cape Breton, the Oceanic has three ranked skaters for the 2023 NHL Draft in Luke Coughlin, Jan Sprynar and Mael St-Denis.
Tonight is the second and final meeting of the season between the two teams; Rimouski was a 5-3 winner on Nov. 16 when Alexandre Blais and Lyam Jacques each had a goal and an assist.
Who to watch
Usually known for his goal scoring, Ivan Ivan kicked off the regular season as one of the QMJHL’s premier assist men.
The Czechia native had 14 assists to his name before he scored his first goal of the season, but since then he’s filled the scoreboard equally with 20 goals and 20 assists.
The 35th overall pick in the 2019 CHL Import Draft, Ivan is on pace for more than 80 points this season.
While Ivan leads the Eagles in assists (34) and points (54), Samuel Johnson’s 24 goals lead the team in that category.
Squires draft season has been impressive as the Charlottetown, PEI native has 41 points (16 goals) in 45 games, while Charles Boutin and Olivier Houde have each reached the double-digit mark in goals.
Daigle leads the way from the blue line with 18 points while Nicolas Ruccia and Oliver Satny have essentially split goaltending duties. Ruccia holds a 9-9-3 record while Satny has all three of Cape Breton’s shutouts this year.
Julien Beland’s 19 goals are the most for the Oceanic while William Dumoulin’s 42 points lead the way.
Sprynar has 17 goals this year while Blais is part of a three-way tie for the team lead in assists (24), alongside Dumoulin and Luka Verreault.
Between the pipes, Patrik Hamrla (CAR) is 15-12-2 with a 2.83 GAA and three shutouts to his name.
Where to watch
Friday’s contest can be seen live for free on CHL TV at 6pm ET / 3pm PT.
Available to fans from coast to coast, CHL TV is accessible on the CHL mobile app, in addition to Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire, and online at watch.chl.ca. Each year, CHL TV offers access to more than 2,000 regular-season games covering the CHL’s three Member Leagues and 60 markets across Canada and the United States. Fans can download the free CHL app via the App Store and Google Play.