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Islanders and Mooseheads take national stage this afternoon

The Charlottetown Islanders and Halifax Mooseheads will play each other for the eighth time this season when they meet this afternoon.

This meeting, however, will be put on a bigger stage, as the game will be broadcasted nationally on Sportsnet as the CHL Saturday Showcase game.

The Islanders are coming off of a tough loss to the Gatineau Olympiques where the team gave up a two-goal lead in the final 1:30 of play before dropping the decision in overtime. Head coach Jim Hulton says he expects his team will put forth a bounce-back performance.

“It’s pretty simple: We’ll be on national TV so we’ll have extra motivation.” said Hulton following Thursday’s loss. “Those games generally bring out the best of us, so we expect a real good performance.”

One player who has been turning in real good performances as of late is defenseman Hunter Drew. The Anaheim Ducks draft pick has points in three straight games, including a 3-point performance back on February 9th against the Saint John Sea Dogs. He’s matched his career-high of 39 points that he set last season with 14 games remaining on the season.

Halifax meanwhile has been playing some of their best hockey on the season, winning three straight games and 8 of their last 10 games. They’ve leapfrogged the Baie-Comeau Drakkar for first overall in the Eastern Conference standings with 83 points, and sit just three points back of the Drummondville Voltigeurs for second overall in the QMJHL.

The Moose have been led by a three-headed monster that comprises their first line. Samuel Asselin, Antoine Morand, and Raphael Lavoie have arguably been the most dominant trio in the QMJHL. Asselin is currently on a 14-game point streak dating back to January 13th, and has recorded an astonishing 15 points in 7 February games. Morand also has 15 points in 7 games this month, including 11 assists and three straight 3-point games. Lavoie, one of the top prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft, leads the way this month with 16 points in 7 games, and has eight points in his past three games.

The Islanders will be in tough injury-wise, as Thomas Casey (upper-body), Drew Johnston (thumb), and Kevin Gursoy (upper-body) have all been ruled out of today’s game. Nikita Alexandrov (upper-body) will be a game-time decision. Along with Sullivan Sparkes and Patrick Leblanc, the team has recalled defenseman Dell Welton from the Cape Breton West Islanders of the NSMMHL for today’s game.

You can catch all of today’s action live on Sportsnet across all channels. George Matthews and Cory Arsenault will also have the call as always on Ocean 100’s Saturday Night Hockey!

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