The Islanders rolled into Cape Breton winners of 13 of their past 15 games, and looked to add to that total on Sunday evening against the Screaming Eagles.
Rookie goaltender Dakota Lund-Cornish started in net for the Islanders, with struggling netminder Kyle Jessiman between the pipes for Cape Breton.
The Eagles opened the scoring 14:56 into the opening period on an individual effort from forward Declan Smith.
With the Isles on the power play, Smith knocked the puck loose before beating Isles defencemen Taylor Egan and chipping a shot over Lund-Cornish to give Cape Breton the lead.
The Eagles were not done there, as just over two minutes later, Russian winger Egor Sokolov found the puck on his stick in the slot before before firing a shot past the Isles netminder.
As the first period was nearing an end Islanders forward Keith Getson delivered a big hit on Cape Breton’s Ryan Francis, drawing a crowd and sending the top-ranked Screaming Eagles power play to the man-advantage.
The penalty carried over into the second period, and just 27 seconds in, Eagles rookie Brooklyn Kalmikov buried a shot past Lund-Cornish to increase his team’s lead to 3-0.
Following some physical play, including a Cayse Ton and Peyton Hoyt fight, the team’s traded chances for much of the period but it was Cape Breton who made the most of their opportunities.
At 17:38 of the second period Smith scored his second goal of the game, giving the Screaming Eagles a four goal lead.
After 40 minutes of action, Cape Breton led 4-0, outshooting the Isles 18-12.
The Islanders refuse to quit though and in the opening minutes of the final regulation period the Isles answered back.
With Tyler Hylland in the box for slashing the Islanders power play took to the ice. On the man-advantage, Samuel Meisenheimer received a pass from teammate Hunter Drew before blasting a shot over the shoulder of Jessiman to cut into the Cape Breton lead.
Just over a minute later the Islanders struck again, this time coming off the stick forward Matthew Grouchy.
With the deficit now cut in half the Isles continued to put pressure on the Eagles.
With just over two minutes remaining in the the period the Islanders pulled Lund-Cornish in favour of an extra attacker. With the extra skater on the ice the Isles controlled the puck, firing everything they had a Jessiman and the Cape Breton defence.
That was as close as the Islanders would come though as with 30 seconds remaining in the game, Smith fired his third goal of the game into the empty net to seal the victory for his team
With the loss the Islanders lose their first road game in the month of November.
The early four goal deficit is what sunk the Islanders said Head Coach Jim Hulton.
“We were flat for the first two period tonight and dug ourselves too deep into a hole. We put a push on in the third but fell just short.”