Rookie goaltender Nicolas Ruccia earned first-star honours in his QMJHL debut as he backstopped the Cape Breton Eagles to a 6-2 win over the visiting, and previously unbeaten, Charlottetown Islanders on Saturday at Centre 200.
The 16-year-old, who was selected in the first round of the 2020 Québec Major Junior Hockey League draft, turned aside 25 of the 27 shots he faced as the Eagles responded positively after dropping a 5-2 decision to the Islanders on Friday.
Liam Kidney opened the scoring for Cape Breton halfway through the first period before defenceman Nathan Larose doubled the lead with his team-leading fourth goal of the young season later in the opening frame.
Émile Hegarty-Aubin notched his first goal as an Eagle, while Jarrett Baker, Shawn Element and Félix Lafrance rounded out the scoring for Cape Breton. Sam Oliver and Cédric Desruisseaux scored for the visitors.
Jacob Goobie shouldered the loss for Charlottetown as he allowed six goals on 22 shots while veteran goalie and Cape Breton native Colten Ellis took a turn on the bench after recording a win in each of the three games he has started this season.
The Eagles were one-for-five on the power play, while Islanders failed to capitalize on three man-advantage situations. Cape Breton outhit the visitors 19-15.
Official attendance was 925 on both Saturday. Crowd size limits and social distancing regulations remain in effect at Centre 200.
Kidney and Lafrance were the Cape Breton goal scorers in the Friday evening loss.
Cape Breton sits in third place in the Maritimes Division. Charlottetown is in first place with a 3-1 record, while the Acadie-Bathurst Titan sit second with five points.
The Eagles hit the road later this week when they travel to northern New Brunswick for games on Friday and Saturday against the Titan.
The next QMJHL tilt at Centre 200 is slated for Oct. 23 when the Halifax Mooseheads are back in town. The teams will also play a Saturday evening contest.
Due to COVID restrictions, the six Maritimes Division teams will play each other 12 times in the abbreviated 2020-2021, 60-game schedule.