The Charlottetown Islanders and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles squared off in a do-or-die game six tonight for Charlottetown. The Islanders were looking to force a game seven, but Cape Breton won 4-3 in overtime, taking the series four games to two.
The visiting Islanders got on the board first, breaking the ice with a Zachary Beauregard goal 5:21 into the game. But before the first period was out, Cape Breton would take a 2-1 lead.
It began at the 10:13 mark of the first when Gabriel Proulx found twine. Egor Sokolov would then add another one less than a minute later to make it 2-1 Screaming Eagles going into the first intermission.
From there, momentum shifted Charlottetown’s way. Xaiver Fortin scored at 9:19 of the second to tie things at two. Then, 1:16 into the third, Thomas Casey scored to give the Islanders the 3-2 lead.
But that would be the final goal scored this season by the Islanders. With goaltender Kevin Mandolese pulled for the extra attacker, the Screaming Eagles tied the game with just under two minutes to go in regulation. Mitchell Balmas would be the hero, knotting the game at three.
To that point in the game, the power play had not played much of a part in the game. Charlottetown was 0-for-1 in regulation and Cape Breton did not have a power play opportunity.
But in OT, both teams began to get in a little bit of penalty trouble, with one being fatal. The Islanders went on the man advantage first when Sokovlov was caught for delay of game 3:49 in to the extra session. That was then canceled out when Charlottetown’s Jordan Maher was called for interference at 4:26, making it a 4-on-4 situation for almost 1:30. Those penalties were killed off with no problem. But at the 10:20 mark, the Islanders took a bench minor for too many men on the ice that they would not recover from.
Sokolov scored on the power play at 11:00 of OT to give Cape Breton the game and the series. They will now move on in the QMJHL playoffs while Xavier Bernard and the Islanders go home.
Speaking of Bernard, he finished the game with a shot and a hit. He also had two penalty minutes – a matching roughing call with Cape Breton’s Nathan Larose at 2:17 of the second period.
Sokolov was the game’s first star while Balmas was the second and Mandolese the third.
The Islanders were 0-for-2 on the power play to finish the night while the Screaming Eagles were 1-for-2. In goal, Mandolese stopped 33 of 36 Charlottetown shots while Matthew Welsh turned aside 25 of 29 Cape Breton shots.
And then there was one. Ty Smith remains the only Devils prospect in North America still vying for a championship. His Spokane Chiefs will begin their second round WHL series with the Everett Silvertips in Everett, Washington on Saturday, April 6 at 10 PM ET.
Just to tie up one other loose end. I quoted Steve Cangialosi as saying on the Devils broadcast last night that NHL referee Tim Peel was retiring at the end of the season. This is apparently not true as Cangialosi tweeted out today that he got that wrong and Peel will be refereeing games next season.