Eagles Overwhelm Allen and Juniors
Montreal. Saturday, October 17, 2008. Less than 24 hours after hanging onto an emotional 3-2 victory over the Huskies from Rouyn-Noranda, the Montreal Juniors faced the QMJHL’s 2nd best team(to date), the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. The Juniors entered the second of their back to back weekend games with the best record in the Telus Western Division with 14 points, while the Eagles arrived with a record of 10-4, good enough for 2nd place in the Atlantic Division.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3 - Montreal Juniors 2
After snapping their goal-less drought early in their Friday night game, the Juniors got off to another quick start on Saturday afternoon. Montreal, facing a strong veteran squad in the Screaming Eagles, were certainly fatigued from their hard fought game the night before. They have been playing strong, confident hockey at home and were looking to build on their home advantage against Cape Breton.
The game opened quickly as the Juniors got on the board in the early going. Assistant captain T.J. Brennan got the home team on the board at the 3:02 mark with assists going to team scoring leader, Nick Layton, and number one center Angelo Esposito. Cape Breton wasted little time in responding to Montreal’s quick start as they evened the score only 47 seconds later on Vincent Lavigeur’s 4th tally of the season. The teams would eventually settle down with Cape Breton slowly beginning to dictate the pace of the game. Things got a little wild near the end of the period when Atlanta Thrashers prospect Angelo Esposito decided to drop the gloves with Cape Breton’s Jan Piskacek. Esposito would get tossed as a result of the fight, leaving the Juniors down one of their superstars with the score tied at 1 after the first period.
The second period was all Screaming Eagles and Jake Allen. Cape Breton fired 22 shots at Allen in the period, while the Juniors scrambled to keep pace with their opponents offense. Fortunately for the Juniors, Jake Allen was phenomenal, allowing only one goal in the period. That particular goal, scored by Chris Culligan on a quick and well executed passing play, setup by a fabulous Michael Stinziani pass, was the only shot of the period to beat Allen. Having lost Esposito to a game misconduct in the first period, the Juniors were at a disadvantage, having tremendous difficulty holding off the Eagles without their number one centerman.
Nick MacNeil scored his 11th goal of the season only 1:09 into the 3rd period, putting CB up 3-1 early. The Juniors, deflated by the early goal, fought tremendously hard to get their team back into the game. Montreal stepped up, outshooting Cape Breton 12-8(the only period of the game when Montreal outshot Cape Breton). Cape Breton goatlender Olivier Roy played well towards the end of the game and although Montreal eventually beat him at the 19:35 mark, a goal by Luke Adam, he was able to hold on to give Cape Breton their 11th win of the season, beating the Montreal Juniors by a final score of 3-2.
Although the Juniors were outplayed by the Screaming Eagles, they played a very strong game. They certainly missed Angelo Esposito on the offensive side of things, but had to be thankful for the way that Jake Allen played. Allen, who was incredible in the second period, made 42 saves in the loss and if it were not for his consistent strong performances, the Juniors could have been blown out by Cape Breton.
The Juniors have the week off until they face Gatineau and Victoriaville at home next weekend. The Juniors play Gatineau on Friday, October 24th at 7:30 pm at the Verdun Auditorium and than play the Tigres from Victoriaville on Sunday, October 26th at 4:30pm.
English game reports written by Steven Hindle