Red-hot Islanders look to keep winning ways going tonight in Cape Breton

Despite forecasted snowfall amounts of 15cm and wind gusts up to 81km/hr, there will be hockey tonight at Centre 200.

The Charlottetown Islanders traveled to Cape Breton yesterday afternoon in an effort to beat the incoming winter storm and be there to take on the Screaming Eagles tonight at 7:00pm.

The Islanders (25-10-2-1) are one of the hottest teams in the QMJHL as of late, having won five games in a row to kick off the second half of the season, outscoring their opponents 23-8 in that span. Their strong play has pulled them ahead of Eastern Conference Rivals Moncton Wildcats, Rimouski Oceanic, and the Screaming Eagles for third in the conference and fifth overall in the league.

Matthew Welsh has been a major contributor to the team’s strong play. The reigning QMJHL Player of the Week, Welsh hasn’t allowed more than two goals in a game in each of his four starts. He’s climbed the statistics ladder among QMJHL goaltenders, now sitting third among all goalies in wins (19) and eighth in save percentage (.907).

This will be just the second time this season that Charlottetown travels to Cape Breton, having lost 31 to the Eagles in the team’s first road game of the season back on January 29th.

Cape Breton, meanwhile, will be looking for retribution following the previous matchup between the two teams in Charlottetown on January 4th. The Islander came away with a 3-1 victory this past weekend, which actually allowed the Islanders to leapfrog the Screaming Eagles (23-14-1-2) in the QMJHL standings.

Two of the three top scorers for Cape Breton are former Islanders; Mitchell Balmas (46) and Derek Gentile (37) sit first and third respectively on the Eagles in total points. The childhood friends have been playing alongside fellow former Islander Shaun Boudrias on the Eagles’ newly-formed first line following the Christmas trading period.

This will be the first time that former Screaming Eagle Noah Laaouan visits Centre 200 as a member of the opposition. It will be a bit odd at first, he says, but something he’s looking forward to.

“I think it’ll be a bit weird.” said the 17 year-old defender prior to the team leaving for Cape Breton. “Even playing them here on Saturday was a bit strange, but I’m looking forward to it. I have a lot of great memories, had a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to going back and playing there.”

You can catch all of tonight’s action as always on Fair Isle Ford Isles Radio. Game time is at 7:00pm.

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