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Eagles knock off Saguenéens to finish tough Québec road trip on winning note

Félix Lafrance of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles watches the play during Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action earlier this season at Centre 200. Lafrance will play his brother, Simon Lafrance, for the final time in major junior hockey on Saturday when the Screaming Eagles host the Victoriaville Tigres at Centre 200.
Félix Lafrance scored a hat trick to lead the Cape Breton Eagles to a 6-3 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens on Saturday. - Mike Sullivan photo
SAGUENAY, Que. —

The Cape Breton Eagles salvaged a three-game road trip with a pair of wins after their tour through eastern Québec began with a potentially confidence-destroying, lopsided loss to the Rimouski Océanic.

The Eagles wrapped up the road trip on Saturday with a come-from-behind 6-3 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, who along with Cape Breton and Rimouski are ranked in the CHL’s national Top 10, before 2,808 fans at the Centre George-Vézina.

The victory was the Eagles’ sixth win of the season against just the one, albeit heavy, 9-2 loss to Rimouski last Wednesday.

Cape Breton clipped the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 7-2 on Friday behind another strong performance from the line of Shawn Boudrias, Ryan Francis and Egor Sokolov. Boudrias had three goals and five points, Francis contributed a goal and four assists and Sokolov scored twice.

On Saturday against the Saguenéens (4-1-1-0), the Eagles found themselves down 2-0 less than four minutes into the contest but would mount a comeback that included two empty net goals and a hat trick courtesy of Félix Lafrance. Francis enjoyed a three-point night, while Brooklyn Kalmikov chipped in with three helpers and Boudrias and Sokolov had a goal apiece.

Kevin Mandolese turned aside 24 of the 27 shots he faced for Cape Breton, while the Sags’ Alexis Shank stopped 19 of 23 shots on his net.

The Eagles won’t have much time at home before they head to Moncton for a Wednesday tilt against the Wildcats who are also off to a good start with a record of five wins and two losses.

Statistically, the Eagles top the Québec Major Junior Hockey League with 12 points and are the highest scoring team with 38 goals.

Individually, Sokolov (7 goals, 15 points), Francis (11 assists, 14 points) and Boudrias (seven goals, 11 points) are among the top point-getters in the league, while Jarrett Baker (three goals, nine points) and Adam McCormick (eight assists, nine points) are the top scoring defencemen in the QMJHL. Baker also tops the +/- ranking with a plus-14 rating after seven games.

Cape Breton’s next home game is scheduled for Saturday when the Val d’Or Foreurs visit Centre 200. The Eagles then host last year’s QMJHL and Memorial Cup champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Sunday with a puck drop at 4 p.m.

sports@cbpost.com

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