Sherbrooke, February 17
The Sherbrooke Phoenix opened the scoring in front of a packed house today, at the Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet, at 7:03 of the first period. The unassisted goal, scored by Olivier Okuliar, put the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in a deficit they struggled to recover from. They began playing a highly physical game and where not shy about throwing hitson Phoenix star Samuel Poulin. Cape Breton found the equalizing goal late in the second period while on the power play. Mitchell Balmas, assisted by Leon Gawanke and Derek Gentile, fired the puck into the bottom of the net while Sherbrooke’s Bobby Dow was serving a roughing penalty.
In what was a very physical game, with Sherbrooke taking the game’s first four penalties – two minors for high sticking offenses, a hooking call and another for too many men on the ice. The more disciplined Cape Breton only took one penalty, and that was a coincidental roughing call that sent Olivier Bourret as well as Sherbrooke’s Bobby Dow to the box for punishment.
Jeremy Jacques, assisted by Bailey Peach and Taro Jentzsch, broke the deadlock at just over the opening minute of the third period for Sherbrooke before Cape Breton again drew even four minutes later on Felix Lafrance‘s fourth goal of the season, assisted by Gabriel Proulx and Olivier Bourret.
Sherbrooke hammered the proverbial nail into the coffin with a goal by Benjamin Tardiff with only 6.9 seconds to play in the third period. It was Tardif’s seventeenth goal of the season. While everyone celebrated in the home stands, and with Cape Breton pulling their goaltender in a vain attempt to pull even with just seconds remaining in regulation time, Ryan DaSilva fired the puck into an empty net.
Both Sherbrooke and Cape Breton had already clenched playoff spots.
Written and photographed by Serge Cloutier