Rouyn-Noranda no match for surging Islanders
The Charlottetown Islanders came into Saturday afternoon’s game as arguably the hottest team in the QMJHL.
Between that Islanders and their sixth straight win were the first-place Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
The Isles came out ready to play in this one, outshooting this opponents 9-4 early on before opening the scoring.
At the 11:14 of the first period forward Sullivan Sparkes got the Isles on the board with a beautiful shot from in-tight. Sparkes received a pass from Nikita Alexandrov while driving to the net, and flicked a shot top-shelf past Zachary Emond.
The Islanders kept up the pressure and entered the first intermission with the lead, outshooting the Huskies 10-5.
In the second period, the Islanders got into penalty trouble. The team received six minor penalties in the second period alone, including multiple 5 on 3 opportunities for the Huskies.
The Islanders were able to weather the storm though, shutting down the Huskies offence for the better part of most power plays.
Assistant captain Pascal Aquin was a big reason for that, logging big minutes on the penalty kill and putting pressure on his opponents.
After 40 minutes of action the shots were tied 16-16 but the Isles still led, 1-0.
In the third period, an already physical game picked up in intensity.
Players on the top-ranked Rouyn-Noranda team became noticeably irritated as the clock ticked down, but the scrappy Islanders won’t back down from a fight.
At the halfway mark of the third period the teams were involved in a shoving match in front of the Islanders bench, resulting in a power play for the Huskies.
Rouyn-Noranda was unable to capitalize on their man advantage and with just over a minute remaining they were forced to pull their goalie.
With the net empty, Aquin found a wide-open Keith Getson, who slide the puck into the open cage to seal the victory.
With the win the Islanders increased their win streak to six games.
Head coach Jim Hulton has been impressed with his team’s mentality during this recent stretch of games.
“The impressive thing with this group is that they don’t get too impressed with themselves,” he said. “We’ll take this one and enjoy it for a few hours, but then the focus shifts to tomorrow.”
The Islanders are back in action tomorrow night at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax to take in the Mooseheads. Puck drop is at 3pm.