Isles win Sunday afternoon matchup with the Wildcats
The Islanders pulled into the EastLink Centre well rested on Sunday afternoon as they prepared for a matchup with the visiting Moncton Wildcats.
The Isles went with Matthew Welsh between the pipes, with former Islander Mark Gramerbauer getting the start for the Wildcats at the other end of the ice.
Just over 13 minutes into the opening period Isles recently signed rookie, Brett Budgell burst up the left wing boards on the power play before blasting a slapshot over the blocker of Grametbauer to open the scoring.
The Isles were not done there as just under two minutes later P.O. Joseph found a loose puck in the Moncton zone before winding up and firing a shot past the Wildcats’ netminder to double the Isles lead to 2-0.
As the clock wound down the Isles looked to carry their two goal lead into the seconds period, but with just 3.5 seconds remaining, defencemen Gabriel Sylvestre drove to the Isles net, getting his stick on a Nicholas Welsh pass, deflecting it past Welsh to cut into the lead.
The Isles started the second period with vengeance, throwing the body and firing multiple shots at Grametbauer, but it wasn’t until the 18:37 mark that they were able to solve the Moncton goalie for a third time.
With just over a minute remaining Sam King blew past a defender down the left-wing and fired a shot far side, beating Grametbauer under the blocker to increase the Isles’ lead to 3-1.
In the third period the Islanders continued to press but it was the Wildcats who got on the board early.
Just over a minute into the final regulation period, Moncton forward Anderson MacDonald got his stick on a floating puck, knocking it under the pads of Welsh and into the back of the net to cut into the Isles lead.
The Wildcats would go on to outshoot the Islanders 12-9 in the third period but it was the duo of Cameron Askew and Pascal Aquin who put the game away for the Isles.
Seconds after pulling Grametbauer in favour of an extra attack, Askew cleared the puck down ice, banking it off the end-boards right on to the stick of the speedy Aquin who beat-out the icing and fired the puck into the open net putting the game away for the Islanders.
The Islanders would go on to win the game, 4-2 with Matt Welsh stopping 28 of 30 shots, and P.O. Joseph walking away with a one goal and two assist performance leading his team to the big win.
With the victory Welsh grabs his 22nd win of the season, now leading all QMJHL goaltenders in wins.
As for the Islanders team as a whole, they reach the 50 point mark and leapfrog the Acadie-Bathurst Titan for 7th place in the QMJHL standings.
The Isles gave everything they had and are happy with their performance said Islanders captain P.O. Joseph.
“We put all the effort that we had in and it’s a great 4-point [swing] for our team and great to get the win.”
The Isles are back in action tomorrow night against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar at 7PM, and Joseph is expecting a physical matchup.
“It was pretty physical in last year’s playoff and that’s their type of game, so we’re going to bring our game and see what happens.”