There will be a rare Monday night game at Centre 200 as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles will try to wrap up their best of seven playoff series against the Gatineau Olympiques. The Eagles lead the series 3-2.
Gatineau pushed the series to a sixth game with a 5-3 win on Friday night, and Cape Breton hopes that the friendly confines of the Nest will be the tonic to finish the round off as the series switches venues. The home team has won four of five meetings in this series (in addition to both games in the regular season) including the Eagles winning both times at Centre 200, in overtime, in games one and two.
Goaltending has been a key story throughout the series. Cape Breton’s Kyle Jessiman has appeared in all five games, starring with a save percentage of .910. Gatineau’s Tristan Bérubé appeared in relief in both games two and three and picked up the win in both of his starts in game four and five.
This has not been a series where either team has been easily put away, as the team scoring first has lost a majority of the games. A two goal lead has been blown on three separate occasions. Special teams have proved to be important as well: through the first three games, Cape Breton drew nearly twice as many power plays as Gatineau, and didn’t allow a single Gatineau power play goal. In victories in games four and five, the Olympiques went three for 11 on the man advantage and scored with the extra man in both games.
Cape Breton’s top line continues to produce into the post-season, as the league’s leading goal scorer in the regular season, Giovanni Fiore, has potted four goals over five games. His linemate Drake Batherson has produced even more, scoring a league leading six playoff goals. For Gatineau the top three names have come as advertised- Zack MacEwan with seven points, Yakov Trenin and Vitali Abramov each with six. The trio was put together in game four and has produced but could find the matchups less favourable in Sydney where the Eagles will have the final line change.
Throughout the club’s history, the Screaming Eagles have played in six times in a game six while holding a 3-2 lead in the series. Cape Breton has won three of these games and lost three, posting a 3-1 record on home ice in such situations.
Tonight’s game six goes at 7:00 pm at Centre 200.