ELLIS LEADS ISLANDERS PAST BLIZZARD IN TELUS CUP OPENER
JASON LA ROSE
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Colten Ellis starred in a 34-save performance, backstopping the Cape Breton West Islanders to a tournament-opening 2-1 win over the Blizzard du Séminaire Saint-François on Monday afternoon at the 2017 TELUS Cup.
It is the first time in 12 years that the Atlantic Region champion has beaten the Quebec Region champion in the preliminary round; Cole Harbour edged Lévis 4-3 at the 2005 tournament.
The Islanders came out with jump, outshooting Saint-François 6-1 in the early minutes and taking a 1-0 lead when Malcolm MacDonald parked himself in the slot and wired a wrist shot past goaltender Philippe Gaudreault at the 4:36 mark.
The Blizzard answered back with a shorthanded marker less than nine minutes later; after a Cape Breton West defender made an ill-advised attempt to knock down a clearing attempt, Vincent Guy raced away and tucked a backhand around Ellis to tie the game.
After a fast-paced first period the teams settled in, but not before Jacob Stewart netted the game-winner on an Islanders power play early in the second. A shot from the high slot by Logan Timmons hit a body in front and bounced to Stewart, who gave the Maritimers back the lead for good.
Ellis took over from there; he stopped all 12 shots he faced in the second period and 11 more in the third. He came up huge on the penalty kill in the second when the Islanders took a trio of minors in a span of nine minutes.
The Blizzard finished with a 35-28 advantage in shots on goal.
Cape Breton West is on the ice next against the Leduc Oil Kings on Tuesday afternoon (4 p.m. PT) looking to become the first Atlantic team to open with back-to-back wins since the Antigonish Novas in 1981, while Séminaire Saint-François takes on the Mississauga Rebels to open Day 2 (12 p.m. PT).