Islanders keep it close, but fall to the Wildcats for the second time this season
By Ryan MacEachern
Goal scoring has been an issue for the Islanders this season and that trend continued into Saturday night’s game in Moncton.
The Isles were only able to muster one goal and went on to lose to the Moncton Wildcats, and former Islanders goalie Mark Grametbauer, for the second time this season.
The pace of the game started out slow, with both sides exchanging power play opportunities, but neither was able get their offence going.
At the end of the first, the teams had a combined 15 shots on goal with no quality scoring chances.
Just over a minute in to the second period Moncton rookie Jakub Pelletier found himself alone at the side of the Isles net and slide a rebound passed Islanders netminder Matt Welsh.
The goal against sparked the Islanders and minutes later they had tied the game.
Following three consecutive penalties taken by the Wildcats, the Isles were able to capitalize.
As a two-man advantage for the Isles was coming to an end, Saku Vesterinen and Adam Marsh cycled the puck around before finding former Wildcat William Bower in the slot for his first goal of the season.
At the end of 40 minutes the game was tied with the Isles outshooting their opponents 17-15.
As the third period rolled around the pace of the game had picked up. The teams traded scoring chances but goaltenders Welsh and Grametbauer stood tall.
Minutes later the Wildcats forced the issue and were able to solve Welsh for the second time in the game.
As a roughing penalty to Hunter Drew had expired, the Moncton power play unit of Mike Cyr, Anderson MacDonald and Jeremy McKenna capitalized with Cyr finishing off the play for his third goal of the season.
The Wildcats would go on to hold the 2-1 lead and win the game, surviving a late push from the Isles that included a pulled goalie and extra attacker.
The Isles have now lost twice this season to former Islander Mark Grametbauer, a goalie who backstopped the team to deep playoff run last season.
Up next for the Islanders is a Sunday afternoon tilt with the Halifax Mooseheads at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 PM.