TIMMONS SCORES TWICE TO LEAD ISLANDERS TO HISTORIC START
JASON LA ROSE
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Logan Timmons had a pair of goals, including the game-winner, to lift the Cape Breton West Islanders past the Leduc Oil Kings 4-1 on Tuesday afternoon at the 2017 TELUS Cup.
The win keeps the Islanders perfect, and put them in elite company; they are the first Atlantic team to open with consecutive wins since the Antigonish Novas at the 1981 Air Canada Cup; that Antigonish team started with four-straight wins en route to a bronze medal.
Jacob Stewart added a goal and an assist for Cape Breton West, which got 18 saves from Colten Ellis.
Taking on a team that had just 18 hours between the end of its tournament opener Monday and puck drop Tuesday, the Islanders took advantage and grabbed an early lead when Timmons put a second-chance shot past Leduc goaltender Nathan Reay on the power play just past the nine-minute mark.
That would be it for offence through two periods, as Reay and Ellis combined to turn aside 35 of the 36 shots they faced in the opening 40 minutes, sending the game to the third still 1-0 in favour of the Islanders.
Timmons got some insurance for the Maritimers at 3:14 of the third period; after a turnover in the neutral zone, Timmons took a feed from Stewart and snuck a backhand through the legs of Reay to double the lead.
Cape Breton West held Leduc to just five shots on goal in the third period, and added a third goal with less than five minutes left when a shot from Keenan Gillis bounced off the end boards, through a maze of bodies and onto the stick of Stewart, who buried the 3-0 goal at 15:39.
Ryan Straschnitzki finally solved Ellis with the Oil Kings enjoying a two-man advantage in the dying minutes, hammering a one-timer to the glove side a with just 70 seconds to go.
The Pacific champions put Reay on the bench in the final minute for a 6-on-4 power play, but Dylan MacDonald went 200 feet to hit the empty net from his own goal-line at 19:11, capping the scoring.
The Islanders return to the ice Wednesday night in search of win No. 3, taking on the host Cariboo Cougars (7:30 p.m. PT), while the Oil Kings will try to bounce back against the Mississauga Rebels (12 p.m. PT).