Lund-Cornish, Gentile lead the Isles to victory
The Isles came to the rink on Monday night for a weekday matchup with the visiting Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
The Isles went with Dakota Lund-Cornish between the pipes on Monday night, giving the rookie netminder his second home start of the season. At the other end of the ice the Drakkar went with backup netminder Justin Blanchette.
The Isles came out ready to play in this one, firing shots early and often on the Drakkar net, and with just over 4 minutes remaining in the period the Isles opened the scoring.
In his Isles debut, Derek Gentile put in an amazing effort. At 15:51 of the first period Gentile received a pass from Brendon Clavelle before bursting up the right-wing and making a couple of nifty move to get inside, releasing a shot that beat Blanchette to open the scoring.
Just over two minutes later the Isles added to their lead.
Just as a Christopher Benoit penalty for elbowing had ended Gentile was back at it again, this time combining with Sam King to set up Sullivan Sparkes for his 10th goal of the season.
At the end of the first period the Isles led 2-0, outshooting the Drakkar 17-5.
In the second period, following a questionable interference call on Isles defencemen Hunter Drew, the Islanders went to the penalty kill with the 15th ranked Drakkar power play stepping on the ice.
Just as the penalty was set to expire, Baie-Comeau’s leading scorer Jordan Martel got his stick on a rebound, beating a down and out Lund-Cornish over the blocker to cut into the Isles lead.
With just over 6 minutes left in the period Isles defencemen Saku Vesterinen started a breakout from the Islanders zone before joining the rush and ultimately finishing off a pretty tic-tac-toe passing play from Gentile and Brett Budgell for his 4th goal of the season.
As they entered the third period the Isles led 3-1, outshooting the Drakkar 28-13.
In the third period Baie-Comeau came out was ready to play, more than doubling their shot totals, but still they were unable to beat Lund-Cornish.
With two minutes remaining and the Isles still leading by two goals, the Drakkar pulled their goalie in favour of an extra attacker.
With the net empty, Cameron Askew won a defencive zone faceoff before the pair of P.O. Joseph and Keith Getson got the puck up ice to Pascal Aquin who floated a backhand shot from centre ice into the open net, sealing the Islanders victory.
The Isles would go on to win 4-1, with Gentile and Lund-Cornish playing a major roll, earning 1st and 2nd star honours. Lund-Cornish finished the game with 30 saves, earning his first career home victory and Gentile walked out of the EastLink Centre with a 3 point night in his Isles debut.
Though satisfied with the result, Islanders head coach and general manager Jim Hulton knows there is room for improvement in his team’s game.
“I liked our first two periods, but wasn’t too happy with our third. I thought we sat back and let Baie-Comeau come at us pretty hard, so Dakota had to be very big [for us].
With the Lund-Cornish walking away with the 4-1 win, Hulton was proud of his backup goaltender.
“I’m extremely happy for Dakota, he’s a young man who has worked really hard, and hasn’t had a lot of opportunities here, but he gets full marks for the win in net tonight.”
The Isles are back in action on Thursday and Friday as they take on first place Halifax Mooseheads as part of a home-and-home series. Thursday’s game takes place at the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, with Friday’s matchup taking over the EastLink Centre in Charlottetown on Friday. Puck drop for both matchups is set for 7PM.