EAGLES?4 MOOSEHEADS?3 OT
Jordan Clendenning woke up an endangered species yesterday.
With his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles down 3-0 to the Halifax Mooseheads in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League best-of-seven quarter-finals, the over-age forward knew his junior career faced extinction with one more loss.
So Clendenning did something about it. He scored two goals — including the overtime winner at 2:06 — and added two assists to give Cape Breton a 4-3 win over the Mooseheads in Sydney, preventing the Mooseheads from sweeping the series and forcing a Game 5 at the Metro Centre tomorrow night.
“It’s definitely in the back of your head, knowing this could be your last game as a junior,” Clendenning said of his career’s mortality. “It could have been our last game of the season and we thrived under that pressure.”
Although Eagles head coach Pascal Vincent joked that the forward “pretty much sucked” in a triple-overtime loss in Game 3, Clendenning had a hand in all of Cape Breton’s goals and saved the team’s season by banging in a power-play marker early in the extra frame on a first-class pass from fellow 20-year-old Dean Ouellet.
Mooseheads defenceman Andrew Bodnarchuk was in the box for the winning goal after taking a tripping penalty for hauling down Nick MacNeil on a partial breakaway.
“We’re still confident and we’re undefeated at home in the playoffs this year,” Bodnarchuk said. “It’s disappointing to lose because we wanted to end the series, but it’s still 3-1 and we just need to get ready for Game 5.”
The Mooseheads were hurt by two delay-of-game penalties for shooting the puck over the glass in their own end, with Clendenning’s first goal coming from Colby Pridham’s error and Guillaume Monast making the same mistake to give the Eagles momentum and a power play to start the brief overtime period.
“Those plays are concentration plays,” Mooseheads head coach Cam Russell. “They’re mental mistakes that you can’t have in the playoffs.”
Halifax received goals from Andrew White, Pridham and Peter-James Corsi. Francois Meilleur and Jan Piskacek rounded out the Cape Breton attack.