The final day of the regular season could prove to be the difference between the Charlottetown Islanders having home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, or playing one of the top two teams in the conference.
They control their own fate this afternoon, when they take on the Halifax Mooseheads at the Scotiabank Centre on Sportsnet’s CHL Saturday Showcase.
If the Islanders defeat the Mooseheads, they’ll lock up fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings and that coveted home ice advantage. Should they reach overtime and get an extra point, they’ll finish the season with 86 points; the worst they could finish is fifth in the conference, depending on the outcome of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles – Acadie-Bathurst Titan game.
If the Islanders lose, combined with victories by Cape Breton, Moncton, and Chicoutimi, they’ll fall to seventh place in the conference, destined for a first-round matchup with either Halifax or the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
The Islanders got a nice return to the lineup from Thomas Casey last night. The forward, who missed the past 13 games with an upper-body injury, provided an injection of speed in to the lineup and meshed comfortably on a line with Zac Beauregard and Daniel Hardie.
“It was nice to get Thomas back in the lineup, I think it’s important for him to get a few games in before playoffs.” said Isles head coach Jim Hulton. “The speed factor that he brings is a pleasant addition back in to the lineup.”
On the flip side, Halifax will be without star forward Raphael Lavoie for today’s game, sitting out the final three games of the season with an upper-body injury. Forward Antoine Morand also appears to be out of the lineup after missing last night’s game with an injury.
Hulton says that while their final opponent in the playoffs has yet to be determined, there’s one thing that stands out more importantly than that.
“We know that we’re playing, and that to me is the most important thing.” said Hulton regarding the playoffs following last night’s game. “We’ll continue to play good hockey, we played good hockey tonight, way more good things than bad things, and we’ll expect the same Saturday”
All the action will be live nationally on Sportsnet as part of the CHL Saturday Showcase. Don’t have cable? Catch all the action on Ocean 100’s Saturday Night Hockey with George Matthews and Cory Arsenault!