The Canada Russia Series took over Charlottetown on Tuesday, with Team QMJHL grabbing the victory in front of a packed EastLink Centre crowd.
With so much skill on display from both teams, it was the QMJHL who opened the scoring in this one.
With seven minutes remaining in the first period, Gatineau forward, and former Charlottetown Islander, Shawn Boudrias received a pass from team captain Peter Abbandonato, before storming down the left-wing boards and flicking a shot over the blocker side shoulder of Team Russia starter Alexey Melnichuk, to open the scoring for Team QMJHL.
Just three minutes later, the Russian forwards capitalized on a give-away in the opponent’s zone, resulting in an Alexey Polodyan shot leading to a rebound goal from Andrey Altybarmakyan, beating Team QMJHL starter Samuel Harvey to tie the game.
After the first period of action the score was tied, 1-1 with Russia outshooting the QMJHL 19 to 11.
Both teams kept up their physical play in the second period, with neither giving an edge to their opponents.
At 13:27 of the second period Acadie-Bathurst Titan forward Antoine Morand was sent to the box for holding, sending Russia to their third power play of the game.
On the man advantage Russia swarmed the QMJHL net, firing a barrage of shots at Harvey, but the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies goaltender stood tall, stopping numerous scoring chances with his penalty killers chipping in with a few blocked shots of their own.
Both defencive units stood tall throughout the second period, and the teams entered the second intermission still tied at 1-1.
Just over 3 minutes into the third period, Russia’s goal-scorer Altybarmakyan was sent to the box for checking to the head, leading to a QMJHL power play.
On the man advantage, QMJHL leading scorer Drake Batherson finished off a play from Maxime Comtois and Joe Veleno to give his team the lead.
With the EastLink Centre nearly at capacity, the 3613 fans in attendance were on the edge of their seats for the closing minutes of the third period.
With two minutes left in the period, Team Russia pulled their goalie in favour of an extra attacker. With the extra skater on the ice the Russians controlled the puck, firing multiple chances at Harvey, but Harvey shut the door.
In the final minute of the period, Drummondville Voltigeurs forward Nicolas Guay found the puck on his stick in the Russian zone before firing a shot into the empty net, sealing a victory for Team QMJHL.
As the final buzzer sounded the QMJHL walked away with a 3-1 victory, giving Canada a 9-6 point lead in the series.
Harvey finished the game with 25 saves and was named Team QMJHL’s top performer and player of game.
“I feel great, the guys in front of me played great and now we’re focusing on Moncton,” said Harvey.
Islanders captain P.O. Joseph wore an ‘A’ for Team QMJHL, and after the game he spoke about the experience.
“When I jumped on the ice and heard my name on the starting five, and I heard the crowd, it was amazing,” he said. “I am really grateful to be here, and now we have to be better on Thursday to finish [the series].”
The teams square off again on Thursday, with Game 6 taking place at the Moncton Coliseum with puck drop set for 8pm.