In what will arguably be their toughest task of the season, the Charlottetown Islanders are set to face off against the league-leading Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Saturday night at the Eastlink Centre.
The Islanders (25-11-2-1) are looking to rebound after a 6-2 loss Wednesday night to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, a loss that snapped a five-game win streak. They currently sit in a four-way tie for fifth overall in the QMJHL with Rimouski, Cape Breton, and Moncton, however they sit in the fifth position with the best winning percentage (.679).
Brett Budgell scored both Islanders goals in the loss, his first goals since December 12th against Moncton, another 2-goal effort. With 23 points in total on the season, Budgell has surpassed his points total from last year, establishing a new career-high.
“Obviously it’s a bigger game against a really tough opponent, but we’re on a roll and if we just keep doing what we’re doing, we’ll find success.” said Budgell on the challenge that the Huskies present. “If we keep finding ways to win like we did in Cape Breton this past weekend, we’ll be fine.”
The Huskies (33-7-0-1) have sat either near or at the top of the league since the beginning of the season, quickly proving themselves to be the cream of the crop. Looking to cement themselves as President’s Cup favourites, the team made significant moves at the Christmas trading period, acquiring Joel Teasdale from Blainville and Summerside native Noah Dobson from Bathurst.
Dobson made his first appearance for Rouyn-Noranda last night in Moncton. He recorded three assists in a 5-1 victory over the Wildcats. Teasdale, the former leading scorer of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, has played in two games so far as a member of the Huskies, recording a goal and two assists in the process.
One of Rouyn-Noranda’s greatest strengths is their depth in goal. Samuel Harvey and Zachary Emond form arguably the most formidable goaltending duos in the league. Given that Harvey started in goal Friday against Moncton, it’s expected that Emond will be between the pipes in Charlottetown. The San Jose Sharks prospect leads all goaltenders with a .938 save percentage; however, with 15 games played he sits just below the games-played threshold to qualify as a league leader.
“It’s going to be a good test for us, but we’re playing some good hockey right now and I think if we keep playing the way that we are, and keep playing as a team, then we have a very good chance against those guys.” added defenseman Noah Laaouan.
Tickets for tonight’s game are available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online by clicking HERE. Don’t forget that it’s Cyber Saturday; use promo code CORMIER to get 51% off your regularly-priced ticket, online only! Can’t make it to the rink? George Matthews and Cory Arsenault will have the call for you on Ocean 100’s Saturday Night Hockey!