Islanders drop two of three in first road-trip of the season
The Islanders came into Sunday afternoon’s game against the Halifax Mooseheads following a loss to the Moncton Wildcats on Saturday, and much like on Saturday, the Isles struggled to put the puck in the net.
With puck drop at 3 p.m. and both teams playing the previous night, a sluggish start was to be expected to start Sunday’s game but that wasn’t the case. Both the Islanders and the Mooseheads came out of the gate with energy in an evenly matched period of hockey.
The Mooseheads opened the scoring at 13:11 of the first period with Raphael Lavoie finishing off a passing play from Filip Zadina and Arnaud Duandeau.
As the first intermission neared the Islanders picked up their game and that play continued into the second period.
The Isles fired twice as many shots on goal than their opponent in the second period, 14-7, but could not beat former Islander Blade Mann-Dixon. Their closest chance came on a bouncing puck that found it way under Mann-Dixon. The play was reviewed but the call on the ice stood as the Halifax netminder was able to stop the puck just before it fully crossed the goal line.
With just of two minutes remaining the second period the Mooseheads lit the lamp again, this time on a Joel Bishop power play strike. Bishop, who had a goal called back earlier in the game, deflected home a point shot from Jocktan Chainey that was set up by Raphael Lavoie.
The Islander had the puck on their sticks for most of the period but still found themselves down 2-0 heading into the third.
In the final regulation period the Isles had their opportunities but were unable to solve Mann-Dixon. In the final minute of the period the Isles pulled Welsh in favor of an extra attacker but a bouncing puck set up Wildcat forward Benoit-Olivier Groulx up with a clear shot at the open cage.
The empty net goal increased the Wildcats lead to 3-0 and dashed any hopes the Islanders had. The Isles played hard until the end though, getting involved in several scrums before the final buzzer sounded.
All four of the Islanders losses have come at the hands of goaltenders that were in their line-up last season. Moncton’s Mark Grametbauer has stopped 50 of the 52 shots he has faced against his former team in two games and for Halifax’s Blade Mann-Dixon now has a shutout against his old squad, allowing only two goals against in two games
The Isles didn’t come away from this road trip empty handed though, having beaten the Saint John Sea Dogs on Thursday in Saint John.
The Islanders have a two game home stand this Friday and Saturday. On Friday the Isles take on the Saint John Sea Dogs with the Quebec Ramparts coming to town the following night. Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7 PM at the EastLink Centre.