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Islanders fall to the Phoenix at home

Feb. 1 Isles goal

The Isles made a comeback in the third period but it wasn’t enough as they fall to the Sherbrooke Phoenix, 4-3.

Matthew Welsh got the start in goal for the Isles on Thursday night with Sherbrooke backup goalie, Brendan Cregan getting the start between the pipes at the other end of the ice.

The Isles came out of the gates flat and the Phoenix took advantage.  Just over two minutes into the opening period, following a Cameron Askew tripping penalty, Sherbrooke captain Hugo Roy found himself alone at the side of the Isles net and fired a one-timer past Welsh to open the scoring.

Halfway through the period Sherbrooke forward Felix Robert delivered a questionable hit to Isles rookie Brett Budgell, drawing a crowd of Islanders including Sullivan Sparkes who attempted to drop the gloves with Phoenix winger Kolby Johnson.

Just 39 seconds later the Phoenix added to their lead on the strength of Samuel Poulin’s 7th goals of the season.

After 20 minutes of action the Isles trailed 2-0, being outshot 16 to 9.

The second period began with a bang as just over three minutes into the period Islanders defenceman Hunter Drew dropped the gloves Sherbrooke’s Kolby Johnson. The two heavyweights exchanged blows with neither side able to grab the upper hand. Johnson would go on to take Drew to the ice before the officials were forced to step in.

The fight seems to have fired up the Sherbrooke squad as just under four minutes later, Nicolas Poulin received a pass Benjamin Tardif before firing his 20th goals of the season past Welsh.

The Phoenix were not done there as just a few moments later 17-year-old defenceman Olivier Crete-Belzile grabbed his first career QMJHL goal to give his team the 4-0 lead.

That goal would conclude Welsh’s night, as the Isles starter would be pulled in favour of Dakota Lund-Cornish after allowing 4 goals on 25 shots.

Lund-Cornish was thrown right into the fire and had to be strong early on, as the Isles struggled to grab ahold of the puck and breakout of their own zone.

The Isles entered the second intermission trailing by four goal but all of that was about to change.

Jim Hulton’s team came onto the ice in the third period a different team, and just over a minute into the period they cut into their deficit. At 1:20 of the third period Isles forward Cayse Ton got his stick on a loose puck in the Phoenix crease, beating Cregan for his 4th goal of the season.

Eight minutes later the Isles were back at it again, jumping onto the ice for their second power play opportunity of the game.

With only three second remaining in the man-advantage, Islanders captain P.O. Joseph fired a slapshot from the point, beating Cregan through traffic to cut the lead to 4-2.

With the Isles offence buzzing all over the Sherbrooke defencemen, they were faced with a slight setback, as Sam King got a bit too aggressive and was called for holding.

The Isles were not going to sit back though as early on in the man advantage the Isles had several quality scoring chances. With less than a minute remaining in the man advantage, Keith Getson picked up the loose puck before storming down the ice on a breakaway. Number 16 would go on to fire his 16th goal of the season past Cregan, cutting the Sherbrooke lead to a single goal with the short-handed strike.

Unfortunately for the Islanders, that was as close as they would come as even with the net empty and a late power play chance the Isles were unable to beat the Phoenix netminder, going on to fall 4-3 in front of the hometown crown.

Following the loss, Islanders assistant captain Keith Getson was not shy when talking about his team’s performance in the opening periods.

“Through the first two periods we played terrible and I think anybody you would talk to is going to tell you that. We came out in the third though and played the period we wanted to.”

Getson knows his team may have let one slip away, but that is not going to stopped them as they hit the road for a weekend road-trip.

“We wouldn’t have been down 4 goals if we played a 60-minute hockey game,” he said. “We have got to come out these next two games and play like we did in the third and we should be fine.”

The Isles are back in action tomorrow night in Saint John for a 7PM matchup with the last-places Sea Dogs. You can follow the action live with Fair Isle Ford Isles Radio and Cory Arsenault here.

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