Islanders fall to Screaming Eagles on Spider’s big night
The Islanders were riding high as they rolled into the EastLink Centre on Saturday night.
The team was coming off of a 5-3 win over the same Cape Breton squad the night before and looked to keep the momentum rolling.
The Isles stuck with their man in net, starting Matthew Welsh between the pipes. Cape Breton changed things up in their crease, going with Kevin Mandolese at the other end of the ice.
Both teams came out of the gates ready to play in this one, but it was the Screaming Eagles who got on the boards first.
Just over 12 minutes into the opening period Russian rookie Egor Sokolov burst down the right-wing boards into the Isles zone before firing a shot over the glove-side shoulder of Welsh to take the early lead.
The advantage was short lived though as just 58 seconds later Charlottetown native Thomas Casey found the puck on his stick and fired his 5th goal of the season past Mandolese to tie the game.
With less than four minutes remaining in first period, following a Pascal Aquin holding call, Screaming Eagles captain Phelix Martineau beat out an icing before making a move to the backhand and beating Welsh under the pads to retake the lead for his team on the power play.
A few second later Aquin dropped the gloves with Jordan Ty Fournier, but before a punch could be thrown the officials stepped in with both players receiving two-minute penalties for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.
The rough stuff continued in the second period, with Isles forward Cayse Ton dropping the mitts with Cape Breton’s Ian Smallwood after the defensemen delivered several health shots to Ton as the two skated up ice.
The spirited tilt went both ways, with each combatant delivering their fair-share of blows before Ton stumbled to the ice with Smallwood following soon after.
At the end of 40 minutes of action the Isles were being outshot 23-22, and still trailed by a goal.
In the third period the Isles did all they could to push for a tie, but unfortunately fell short.
Even with an extra attacker on the ice in the closing minutes the Isles only managed 9 shots, with Mandolese coming up huge for his team to walk away with the 3-1 victory.
Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton was not a fan of his team’s performance following tonight’s game.
“I didn’t like our 60-minute performance, and not just because of the result,” said Hulton. “I didn’t think we started very good and I don’t think we skated for the first 40 minutes on a consistent basis.”
Up next for the Isles is a matchup with the Sherbrooke Phoenix at the EastLink Centre next Thursday at 7PM.