The Cape Breton Screaming Eagles have the backs of the Gatineau Olympiques against the wall heading into tonight’s game at the Robert Guertin Centre. With a 5-2 win last night on the road, the Eagles have the opportunity to sweep the series as the fourth game goes this evening. Last night’s victory was the first time Cape Breton picked up a win in Gatineau since 2009.
Last night’s game was the first contest in the series to not require overtime, and despite holding a 3-0 series lead the Screaming Eagles have not yet opened the scoring in regulation and did not hold a lead in any game of the series until the 15:14 mark of period one of game three. But the Eagles have carried their share of the play, outshooting the Olympiques 129-88 to this point of the playoffs.
Special teams continues to play a role in this match, and for Gatineau its both the inability to draw penalties and to score on the ones that they do draw. The Olympiques have gone 0 for 10 with the man advantage, while Cape Breton has produced at a 4 for 22 clip.
Heading into the playoffs the Eagles possessed the league’s leading goal scorer in Giovanni Fiore, while the Olympiques held Vitali Abramov, the QMJHL’s leading point getter. To this point, Fiore has scored in two of three games, scoring the only goal in game one and being named the first star in game three. Abramov has yet to light the lamp, being held to a pair of assists in game two. Zack MacEwan has carried the load for the Olympiques, scoring three times, tied with Cape Breton’s Drake Batherson for the most goals in the series.
Kyle Jessiman was named the CHL’s goaltender of the week following a strong showing in games one and two and starred again in game three, stopping 21 of 23 shots. Gatineau’s starting goaltender Mathieu Bellmarre delivered a star performance in game one before being pulled in both games two and three. Tristan Bérubé has provided quality in relief though, stopping 40 of 43 shots.
Prior to tonight’s contest the Screaming Eagles have twice established a 3-0 lead in a playoff series: in the opening round of the 2007 playoffs against St. John’s and the 2009 playoffs against Saint John. In both occasions, Cape Breton was able to complete the sweep on the road which they will look to do again tonight. With this series being conducted under a 2-3-2 format, Gatineau will look to get on the board with a win knowing another home date would await Friday night at the Guertin.
Game four takes place tonight at 8:30 pm (Atlantic time) at the Robert Guertin Centre, and you can hear all the action beginning with the pre-game show at 8:00 with Patrick McNeil on 1270 CJCB.