Hardie’s heroics lead Isles to victory
With two minutes left in the third period, Daniel Hardie was in danger of seeing his point streak end at five games. Luckily for the Charlottetown Islanders, he extended it to six in the final hour, as the Islanders defeated the Moncton Wildcats 5-4 in front of a rabid Eastlink Centre crowd, ending a 14 game unbeaten streak in regulation for the Wildcats.
Brett Budgell kicked off the scoring in the first period, finding his own rebound in front of Wildcats starting netminder Francis Leclerc and roofing it for his fifth goal of the season.
Nikita Alexandrov would extend the lead for the Islanders before the end of the first period, sending the Isles in to the first intermission with a 2-0 lead over one of the top teams in the QMJHL. The Isles peppered their opponent once again, leading in the shot category by a whopping 20-5 after twenty minutes.
The Wildcats would storm back though in the second period. Summerside native Jeremy McKenna would break up Matthew Welsh’s shutout bid early in the second with his 13th of the season, bringing the score to 2-1.
Jacob Hudson would tie the game later in the period before McKenna would find twine once again, giving the Wildcats their first lead of the game on three straight goals.
Before the end of the period, however, Budgell would answer for the Islanders. He’d walk in on Leclerc and fire a shot five-hole for his sixth goal of the season.
The Wildcats would jump ahead again in the third period thanks to a Jakob Pelletier powerplay goal. They’d hold that lead until midway through the third period, when Will Sirman would find a streaking Liam Peyton who’d make no mistake, scoring his fourth goal of the season to tie this game up at 4-4.
Peyton was playing his first following an extended absence thanks to a back injury. He said it was exciting to get that one in his return.
“At that point in the game it was a big one for the team.” said the 6’1 forward. “Coming back from an injury is part of the game, so it’s a bit tough. But, it’s just an adversity that you have to face. I took my time and treated it properly and was able to bounce back right away.”
The game remained tied until late in the third period when Hardie struck. Intercepting an errant Wildcat breakout pass, Hardie would walk in to the slot untouched, wiring a wrist shot glove side on Moncton’s overage goalie for his 14th goal of the season.
For Hardie, that’s now 22 points in 11 games. He said while he can’t recall being on a streak this strong, what’s more important is the chemistry he’s developed with his linemates.
“It feels good to put the numbers up for the team and contribute, but you have to give credit to the linemates.” said Hardie. “[Kevin Gursoy] is finding me a lot and [Keith Getson] is getting his looks as well. We have some great chemistry, we’re really happy to be playing with each other, and we’re ready to keep it going.”
Hardie and his linemates will have an opportunity to keep it going tomorrow night when the Chicoutimi Sagueneens come to town in the annual Remembrance Day Game. Service members will be able to attend tomorrow’s game for free! Tickets are available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https:.//boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com. We’ll see you there!