It wasn’t the ending to this Quebec trip that the Charlottetown Islanders had hoped for, defeated by the Sherbrooke Phoenix by a score of 4-3.
The action on the ice was free-flowing and fast paced to start the game, with both teams getting a number of opportunities; however, the starting netminders were up to task. Matthew Welsh and Thommy Monette came up big for their respective teams in the first period, keeping the game scoreless as the first period drew to a close.
The Phoenix would finally break the deadlock in the second period, as Alex-Olivier Voyer would strike on the powerplay for Sherbrooke early in the period to bring the score to 1-0. For Voyer, that would be his sixth goal of the season.
Voyer was far from finished, however; it would just take him until the third period to strike again. He’d add his second powerplay goal of the game to extend the Phoenix lead to 2-0.
As Brett Budgell came back on to the ice, the Phoenix would draw a penalty, sending the Islanders to a man advantage of their own; unfortunately, it would be the Phoenix that would strike shorthanded. Benjamin Tardif would find a loose puck in the neutral zone and streak in on Welsh alone, make a deft move to the backhand and going top corner, bringing the score to 3-0 Sherbrooke.
The Islanders may have been down midway through the third period, but they were certainly not out. Head coach Jim Hulton pulled Welsh with almost 8 minutes to play in the third and the Isles would make the most of the opportunity. Brendon Clavelle would score his first career regular season QMJHL goal with the 6-on-5 advantage, beating Monette from the point with a number of bodies in front of him.
Hulton strategically pulled Welsh again with four minutes left to play, and once again the Islanders went to work. On what was nearly the same play, Brett Budgell corralled the puck at the point and put it on a screened Monette, beating him glove side to cut the Phoenix lead to 1.
Just seconds later, riding a wave of momentum, Charlottetown would tie the game up. Hunter Drew wired a wrister from the point that took a funny bounce off the end boards and ended up in front of Monette. With the Phoenix defenders all puck-watching, Kevin Gursoy would sneak in and jam the puck in to the net for his fourth of the season.
Unfortunately for Charlottetown, the score wouldn’t stay tied for long. Just 40 seconds later, Alex-Olivier Voyer would receive a pass in the slot and make no mistake for his third of the game and eighth goal of the season, sealing the victory for the Phoenix.
Benjamin Tardif would finish the game with a goal and 3 assists for Sherbrooke. Daniel Hardie extended his point streak to five games with an assist in this one. He now has 21 points in his last 10 games.
The Islanders are back in action at home this Thursday when they take on the Moncton Wildcats on Student Night. Tickets are available as always at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-625-6629, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com. We’ll see you there!