By Jason LaRose of Hockey Canada
Ellis leads Islanders past Blizzard in tournament opener
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.
Timmons scores twice to lead Isles in game two
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 (11:30 p.m. AST), while the Oil Kings will try to bounce back against the Mississauga Rebels (4 p.m. AST).