December 31, 2017 - Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) - Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
HALIFAX- The first leg of the 2017 Hurley Cup went the way of the home team as Halifax topped Cape Breton in the provincial capital on Saturday afternoon.
Last year Cape Breton swept Halifax in the first annual Hurley Cup, a two game total goal series between the two clubs. But despite being held scoreless in the opening twenty minutes, the Mooseheads came out with a 5-2 victory in the series opener.
In fact both teams were unable to score in the opening 19 minutes, each club failing to score on a power play. But the Eagles would strike prior to period's end, on a nice passing play from Phélix Martineau who fired a pass from behind the net to Brooklyn Kalmikov in front who snapped the game's opening goal past Alexis Gravel, and the Eagles held the lead after the first horn.
Period two, however, would belong to Halifax, thanks to a three goal spurt in a span of less than six minutes. The tying goal would be extensively reviewed, as a Xavier Parent pass intended for Joel Bishop ended up bouncing off Cape Breton's Noah Laaouan and into the goal. The replay was watched to see if Bishop had knocked the puck down with a high stick, but it proved inconclusive and it was a 1-1 game. On the following rush the Mooseheads almost took the lead but Arnaud Durandeau missed a shot at an open net by the Eagles goal.
The lead would come shortly, though, as the power play came through for Halifax. Otto Somppi blasted a one timer at the top of the right circle on a one timer from Jocktain Chainey just past the halfway mark of regulation. And then, with under six minutes to play in the middle stanza, Connor Moynihan would convert a rebound on a point shot from Jake Ryczek to make it a 3-1 game. It was the first QMJHL point for Ryczek, the 19 year old defenseman who joined Halifax after Christmas.
Cape Breton would push back in the third period. This time it was the Eagles' power play coming through, on a heavy shot from the point from Leon Gawanke that rang off the iron and into the net. It was a one goal game with 8:37 remaining.
There would be no tying goal, though, as the Mooseheads would score twice before game's end. Both goals would follow a similar template- a pass from behind the net out front. The first came on the power play from Xavier Parent from Ben Higgins and the next would be a finish from Benoit-Olivier Groulx coming from Arnaud Durandeau. The game would finish by a count of 5-2.
Gravel picked up the win in goal for Halifax, stopping 29 of 31 shots. Kyle Jessiman stopped 22 of 27 shots in the loss.
Game two of the Hurley Cup goes tomorrow at Centre 200 at 2 PM. Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item in support of Feed Nova Scotia, and those donating items will be entered into a draw to win a game worn Screaming Eagles Hurley Cup jersey. Tickets can be purchased at the Centre 200 box office, by phone at 902-564-2200 or online at https://tickets.capebreton.ca/Online/default.asp
THREE STARS OF THE GAME 1. Xavier Parent (Halifax) 2 goals, +1, 3 shots 2. Jake Ryczek (Halifax) 1 assist, +1 3. Alexis Gravel (Halifax) 29 saves on 31 shots
Scratches For Cape Breton: Ross MacDougall (lower body injury), Ryan MacLellan, Justin Lazure, Drake Batherson (World Juniors)
Scratches For Halifax: Filip Zadina (World Juniors), Jared McIssac (suspension), Cooper Jones, Barrett Dachyshyn
Final Shots On Goal: 31-27 in favour of Halifax
Cape Breton Power Play: 1/2
Halifax Power Play: 2/3 -30- Marc-Andre Dumont GM & Head Coach Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 902-577-2682 firstname.lastname@example.org
Patrick McNeil Communications coordinator & play by play commentator Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 902-561-3355 email@example.com