Islanders beat Cape Breton in Teddy Bear Toss game
It was a special night for the Islanders as they hosted their annual Teddy Bear Toss game as they faced-off against the visiting Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
The Isles continued to ride the hot hand of Matt Welsh, as he received his 8th straight start in the Islanders net. At the other end of the ice, the Screaming Eagles went with goaltender Kevin Mandolese.
It didn’t take long for the Islanders to strike in this one, as just over a minute into the opening period, the Isles stole the puck and rushed up ice. The Isles crashed the Screaming Eagles net resulting in three great chances in front of Mandolese before Samuel Meisenheimer got his stick on the loose puck beating the goaltender to open the scoring, sending hundreds of teddy bears flying to the ice.
The Isles controlled play early on in the period but that didn’t stop the Screaming Eagles from taking advantage of their opportunities.
At 6:46, following a Brendon Clavelle hooking penalty, Cape Breton captain Phelix Martineau found the puck on his stick, and fired a power play goal past Welsh to tie the game at 1-1.
The score wouldn’t remain tied for long, as less than five minutes later the Isles stormed Mandolese’s crease again, resulting in a Hunter Drew goal, batting the puck out of the air into the open net.
After a first period that saw the Isles take a 2-1 lead, outshooting their opponents 18-3, they would not look back.
Just over a minute into the second period, Meisenheimer light the lamp again, beating Mandoloses for his second goal of the game, giving the Isles the 3-1 lead.
The Isles were not done there, as just over a minute later, Charlottetown native Thomas Casey found himself alone in front of the Screaming Eagles net before poking a shot between the legs of Mandolese to extend the Isles’ lead.
As the second period neared its end Sullivan Sparkes was handed interference penalty, sending one of the league’s top power play units back to the man advantage.
With less than a minute to go in the Sparkes penalty, Islanders forward Pascal Aquin chipped a puck past a Cape Breton defender, before winning the race and ultimately beating Mandolese with backhand move on the breakaway.
As the second intermission rolled around the Isles carried a 5-1 lead into the third period.
Less than four minutes into the the final regulation period the Isles added to their lead, with a goal from defencemen Olivier Desjardins from the point.
The Screaming Eagles would not be able to answer back and as the final buzzer sounded the Isles walked away with the 6-1 victory in front of the 2611 fans in attendance.
Islanders Head Coach Jim Hulton loved the performance he got from his team early in the opening period.
“I thought we had fantastic skating legs from the opening face-off and we capitalize early, we got the teddy bears on the ice in the opening minute and we never really looked back.”
The victory is great, but being able to give back to the community is just as important to Hulton.
“Christmas is a special time of year for all of us, and any of us involved in hockey are pretty privileged,” he said. “The fact the we can share something special with the community and give back, is very special for us.”
Up next next for the Isles is a Saturday night match-up in Saint John as the team prepares for a 7pm battle with the Sea Dogs.