Islanders drop a wild one in Moncton, falling 6-5 in overtime
To say the Islanders got off to a slow start on Saturday night may just be the understatement of the century.
It was a battle of the Matthew’s as Matthew Welsh and Matthew Waite started between the pipes for their teams.
It’s didn’t take long for the powerful offence of the Wildcats to strike, as just 1:13 into the opening period Summerside native Jeremy McKenna took advantage of an Isles turnover, walking into the slot and firing his 27th of the season past Welsh to open the scoring.
The Wildcats were back at it again minutes later, with forward Jacob Hudson knocking a shot past Welsh to push the Moncton lead to 2-0.
The period was far from done though as less than two minutes later, James Phelan scored his 20th goals of the season, increasing the Moncton lead to three goals.
Following the score Welsh was pulled in favour of Dakota Lund-Cornish, having allowed three goals on six shots.
Lund-Cornish would not fare much better though as two minutes after entering the game the Isles were sent to the penalty kill following a Hunter Drew boarding call.
On the man-advantage it was Phelan who scored his second goal of the game as the Wildcats looked to run away with the game.
The Isles refused to knuckle under though and just over a minute later the Islanders responded.
At 10:50 of the first period Sam King picked up a pass from Hunter Drew and wired a shot past Waite to put the Isles on the scoreboard.
The Isles would continue to press from there, and less than three minutes later it was Talyor Egan who scored his 2nd goal of the season, beating Wait with a heavy slapshot from the blueline.
With the game well within reach the Isles stuck again. Derek Gentile started the play, dishing a pass to Brett Budgell in the corner of the Wildcats’ zone, Budgell would try his luck at the Moncton net but when the shot was tipped away by a defender it was Alexandrov who was there to capitalize on the chance, blasting a shot past Waite to pull the Isles within a single goal.
The Isles third goal put an end to Waite’s night, as he allowed three goals on 9 shots. He was replaced with former Charlottetown Islanders’ netminder Mark Grametbauer.
Grametbauer wouldn’t face shot in the closing minutes of the opening period and the teams pulled into the first intermission with the Wildcats leading 4-3.
Matthew Welsh returned to the Isles net to start the second period, as his team picked up where they left off in the first period. Less than a minute in, Saku Vesterinen picked up his 6th of the season following a perfect faceoff win by Keith Getson.
With the score now tied it was Vesterinen who grabbed the Isles their first lead of the game.
Following Ja onathan Aspirot high-sticking call, the recently rejuvenated Islanders power play took to the ice. On the man-advatage it was Vesterinen who got his stick on a rebound in the slot, firing his second goal of the game over the shoulder of Grametbauer to give the Isles the lead.
The lead was short lived though, as just over a minute later, Wildcats’ assistant captain Mike Cyr fired his 24th goal of the season past Welsh to tie the game at 5-5.
Following 40 minutes of action the score was tied at 5-5 with the Wildcats outshooting the Isles 24 to 19.
In the third period each team stepped up their defensive games with goaltenders Matthew Welsh and Mark Grametbauer keeping their team’s in the game.
The third period would go on to solve nothing, forcing the game into overtime.
Just 11 seconds into the extra frame, Isles defenceman Hunter Drew stumbled behind the Isles net and the puck floated into the slot where Russian rookie Alexander Khovanov walked into a slapshot, blasting his 3rd goal of the season past Welsh to win the game for the Wildcats.
Despite the awful start to the game, Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton liked what he saw from his players as they battled back into the game.
“We faced a lot of adversity tonight with our third game in three days and a disastrous start to the game. Fortunately, our guys showed great character and resilience in clawing back to gain a valuable point on the road.”