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Isles’ 5-game win streak ends in Cape Breton

On a windy and snowy night in Cape Breton, the home town team gave the dedicated fans that made it to the rink a show.

Egor Sokolov, Declan Smith, and former Islander Mitchell Balmas each recorded three points, and Charlottetown’s 5-game win streak comes to an end thanks to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.

The first period didn’t bring much action with it, as the teams generated just 11 shots combined within the first 20 minutes. With only 12 faceoffs in the period, the action was fluid and quick, and the two teams went back to the dressing room quicker than usual with a scoreless game.

Whatever Jim Hulton and Marc-Andre Dumont said to their respective teams in the first intermission appeared to have woken them up. The Eagles struck first blood early in the second period; Egor Sokolov got the pass from Antoine Crete-Belzile and walked in to the Islanders zone alone. He beat Islanders starter Matthew Welsh cleanly for his 20th goal of the season.

Sokolov would add his 21st of the season just minutes later, tying his career high set last season. 20 seconds after that, Gabriel Proulx would find a loose puck in front of Welsh and bury it for his 11th goal of the season.

The Islanders would battle back to within one goal before the end of the period thanks to Brett Budgell. The 17 year-old Newfoundlander would add a powerplay goal midway through the second period, walking off the boards and firing a wrist shot past Eagles starter William Grimard for his first 14th of the season and first goal in 7 games.

Budgell would add his 15th of the season off a rebound in front of Grimard with just over four minutes remaining in the second period. Unfortunately for the Islanders, that’s as close as they’d come. Balmas would add a goal, Smith would pop the empty-netter, and Ryan Francis would add a late marker to send the Screaming Eagles’ faithful home with a victory.

With their assists on each of Budgell’s two goals, Jordan Maher and Nikita Alexandrov each have points in five of the six games to start the second half of the season.

“We played a decent road game, but poor puck management and a lack of attention to detail ultimately cost us the game.” said Islanders head coach Jim Hulton. “We had good energy in the opening period but strayed from our formula for success in the second.”

“We look forward to bouncing back with an improved performance Saturday versus Rouyn.”

Tickets for the aforementioned game on Saturday night against the league-leading Rouyn-Noranda Huskies can be purchased at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com.

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