The Charlottetown Islanders continue to ‘find a way’ to win, coming from behind to take their third overtime win of the series, forcing a deciding Game 7.
The Islanders received contributions throughout their lineup on Sunday night with rookie Brett Budgell and veteran Cameron Askew each coming up huge for their team.
Budgell opened the scoring midway through the opening period on the power play, picking up a loose puck in front of the Armada net before lifting a shot over Emile Samson to give the Islanders an early lead.
The lead would not stand though as just over four minutes into the second period the QMJHL’s regular season scoring champion, Alex Barre-Boulet, would score a power play goal of his own, wiring a shot over the glove of Matthew Welsh to tie the game.
Blainville would take the lead just over 10 minutes later, with Armada captain Alexandre Alain one-timing a pass from Pascal Corbeil past a screened Welsh to give his team the lead.
Despite outshooting their opponents 10 to 3 in the period, and 20 to 9 after 40 minutes the Islanders entered the third period trailing by a goal.
But as they have done all season long the Islanders battled back, and with less than three minutes remaining Budgell found the stick of Islanders’ leading playoff scorer Nikita Alexandrov and the German rookie made no mistake, deflecting a shot into the open net behind Samson to tie the game at two.
Neither team would strike again in regulation, sending the game into overtime for the third straight game at the EastLink Centre.
The Islanders came out with a sense of urgency to start the sudden-death period, pressuring the Armada all over the ice and just over six minutes in that pressure paid off. After grabbing the first five shots of the period the Islanders took advantage of a tired Blainville group, with defencemen Hunter Drew firing a shot off of the end-boards which bounced perfectly onto the stick of Cameron Askew who would make no mistake, sliding a shot past Samson to keep the Islanders season alive and force a Game 7 in Blainville on Tuesday night.
Following the game Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton admitted he’s running out of words to describe the resilience of his team.
“It’s so appropriate that they came up with the slogan, ‘Find A Way,’ because we couldn’t have summed it in a better way.”
Sunday’s win marks the Charlottetown’s third overtime win of the series, all of which came at home and ended in the opening minutes. The Islanders have been aggressive in the sudden-death period all season long and Hulton sees no reason to stop now.
“We use the analogy of the lion and the lamb. If you’re going to die, die a lion. A lamb gets eaten (whereas) the lion usually has to get shot, so if we go down let’s go down our way. We’ve been aggressive all year, let’s not stop now.”