Isles drop a close game to Gatineau
The Islanders entered Saturday night’s game coming off a 4-3 win over the high-powered Drummondville Voltigeurs and looked to keep the good times rolling against Drummondville.
Matthew Welsh got the start in the Isles net again on Saturday as the Islanders continued to ride the hot hand. Mathieu Bellemare got the start in net for the visiting Gatineau Olympiques.
Five minutes into the first period, following a big hit on forward Sullivan Sparkes by former Islander Will Thompson, Sam King stepped in to defend his teammate, dropping the gloves with Thompson.
Both combatants delivered their fair share of shots before the officials stepped in, ending the fight in a draw.
At 12:19 of the opening period, former Islander Shawn Boudrais caught Saku Vesterinen in a compromising position, delivering a hit from behind to the Finnish defencemen.
Vesterinen stayed down for a number of minutes before being helped off the ice by Islanders Athletic Therapist Kevin Elliot.
Vesterinen did not return to the game and Boudrais was assessed a 5-minute penalty and a game misconduct, with the hit ending both players’ nights.
At 13:36, following a Sparkes slashing penalty, the teams prepared themselves for four-on-four action.
Four seconds after the penalty, Pier-Olivier Lacombe let go a slap shot from the point beating Welsh to open the scoring for Gatineau.
Less than three minutes later the Isles answered back with a goal of their own.
With the Boudrais penalty still ticking down, the Isles power play returned to the ice.
Following a shot from King on Bellemare, Matthew Grouchy got his stick on the rebound before firing a shot top shelf over the sprawled-out netminder.
Just over a minute later Gatineau reclaimed the lead on a backhand shot from Anthony Beauchamp.
As Beauchamp rushed up the ice he fanned on a wrist-shot, but quickly got the puck back and chipped a backhanded shot over the shoulder of the Isles goaltender to restore his team’s one goal lead.
As the first period of action came to an end the Islanders entered the intermission trailing, 2-1.
After the second period was played with a defencive focus in mind, the Isles finished the period outshooting the Olympiques 11-4 but entered the second intermission down, 2-1.
In the third period the Isles pushed for a tie but were met with the hot goaltending of Bellemare.
Following big saves on Nikita Alexandrov and Keith Getson, the Isles began to show their desperation.
With just under two minutes remaining in the period, Welsh skated to the Islanders bench in favour of an extra attacker. But even with the extra skater on the ice the Isles were unable to get their offence going, and with only a few seconds remaining another former Islander, Mitchell Balmas, put the game away firing a shot into the empty Isles net to seal the win for his team.
Gatineau would go on to win the game 3-1, continuing their impressive stretch of games.
The Isles are back in action on Wednesday in Acadie-Bathurst as they square off with the Maritime Division leading Titan. Puck drop for is set for 7pm.