Coming off of a long, dramatic double overtime victory mere hours ago, the Charlottetown Islanders will regroup and hit the ice tonight at 7:30 to go for their second consecutive victory over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
It took nearly 85 minutes for the Isles to take a 1-0 series lead last night, but it got done thanks to Brett Budgell, who scored the game-winner 5 minutes in to OT 2, stepping off the bench and wiring a knuckle-puck past Screaming Eagles starter Kevin Mandolese. For the 17 year-old Budgell, who’s now in his second QMJHL playoff run, that’s his third game-winning playoff goal.
As many predicted it would be, the goaltending duel was the biggest battle of the game. Both Mandolese and Matthew Welsh stood on their heads last night and gave their teams equal chances to win, as they both faced over 40 shots in the game. As two of the top netminders in the QMJHL, both will likely draw the start again today despite equal 85 minute performances.
“We knew what they were going to put out and they didn’t disappoint,” said Welsh on Charlottetown’s opponent. “They had a lot of chances and a high-octane offense.”
The 19 year-old said that the team stuck to their gameplan, as was stressed all week long, and it led to the victory.
“We did a really good job of keeping things simple, we didn’t dive in too much or give them too many odd-man rushes, and I think that was a key to our win. We really just kind of waited back and let the game come to us.”
Looking ahead to tonight, Welsh says that the team remains focused on themselves and doing exactly what they did the night before to find success once again tonight.
“You can do so much to think about what they’re gonna do but it’s important that we just focus on ourselves, and I know if we do that we’re gonna be successful.”
Tickets for tonight’s game are still available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com.