Late third period magic leads to Isles overtime victory
The Islanders just keep on winning.
The Isles came into their match-up with the Halifax Mooseheads winners of 12 of their last 14 games and they added another win to their totals on Friday night.
The game was fast-paced from the outset and just over five minutes in, Isles forward Keith Getson was called for tripping sending the Mooseheads to the power play.
Seconds into the man-advantage, Halifax’s Otto Somppi was alone in front of the Islanders starter Matthew Welsh before batting in a rebound. With the Mooseheads bench celebrating the refs called for a review.
After several minutes the officials turned to centre ice and signaled a no-goal, explaining that the play was off-side.
Less than a minute later though, Somppi would get the goal back. Just as the Mooseheads were setting up on their power play Somppi received a pass from Maxime Fortier before firing a shot past Welsh to open the scoring.
With momentum on the side of their opponents, the Isles quickly found themselves with a 5-on-3 power play. With the extra skaters the Isles moved the puck well but were unable to beat Halifax goaltender Alexis Gravel.
In the closing seconds of the two-man advantage, Mooseheads captain Maxime Fortier picked up the puck in the Halifax zone before bursting up the left-wing and flicking a shot over the shoulder of Welsh.
The opening period would come to an end shortly after with the Mooseheads leading, 2-0.
At 3:18 of the second period, Sullivan Sparkes attempted a wrap-around shot on Gravel which bounced around in the crease before ending up on the stick of Sam King, who backhanded a shot past Gravel to cut the Mooseheads lead in half.
The remainder of the second period was physical, with both teams dishing out a fair bit of punishment along the boards.
After 40 minutes of action the Isles trailed 2-1, outshooting their opponents 21-17.
The third period saw chances for both teams and terrific goaltending from their netminders.
The Isles received four power plays in the third period alone, but were unable to capitalize on any of their chances.
In the closing minutes, with the net empty and Welsh on the bench, the Islander pushed for a goal. As the clock ticked down in the final minute the Isles began to throw everything they had a Gravel and with only 7.7 seconds remaining in the game, Islanders captain P.O. Joseph swung at a loose puck at the side of the Halifax net, chipping it over Gravel to tie the game.
With the crowd going wild, and many fans returning to their seats, the score was now tied. Neither team managed a shot in the final few seconds, sending the game into overtime.
In the opening seconds of the extra frame, Islanders rookie Nikita Alexandrov found himself with space in front of Gravel and fired a shot past the Mooseheads netminder to win the game for the Islanders.
With the win the Isles improve to 13-2 in their last 15 games, with 11 of those wins coming from Matthew Welsh.
With yet another comeback victory, Islanders Head Coach Jim Hulton has come to expect the never back down mentality of his team.
“I think we’ve learned how to win here,” Hulton said. “Whether you score the first goal or whether you’re down by two after the first period, it’s a 60 minute game and I think tonight is a perfect example of sticking with it and grinding it out.