Win by committee was in full effect on Thursday night in Charlottetown.
Five different players tallied goals, Xavier Bernard recorded two assists, and the Charlottetown Islanders recorded their fourth win in a row with a 5-1 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs.
“The win was indicative of what we have to do to have success,” said Islanders head coach Jim Hulton. “We had contributions from top to bottom tonight and it was a good team win all around.”
Cole Edwards continued his hot start to the season and got the Isles on the board first. Jeremie Poirier fanned on a pass behind the Sea Dogs net and Edwards jumped all over the loose puck. He turned in tight and tucked it high over Sea Dogs starter Zachary Bouthillier to give the Isles the early lead. For Edwards, that would be his third goal on the season.
The lead would expand to two thanks to Noah Laaouan. The 18-year old defender would intercept a pass over centre ice and catch the Sea Dogs napping. He’d quickly toe drag and fire a wrister past Bouthillier for his first goal on the season and a 2-0 Isles lead heading in to the first period.
“I just saw the D made a long stretch pass so I got in the way of it. Luckily the puck came right back to me.” said Laaouan on the goal. “I came down, didn’t see anyone else open, so I tried to get it on net and luckily it went in.”
“He sat back in his defensive position, and made a really smart read to jump in.” added Hulton. “He’s such a great kid, so to see him get rewarded like that on the scoresheet was pretty nice.”
Saint John responded in the second period on the powerplay but the Islanders responded shortly thereafter. Kevin Gursoy got the monkey off his back with a powerplay goal of his own, finding his own rebound and going high on Bouthillier for his first goal of the season.
The Isles broke the Sea Dogs back in the third period with two quick goals to start the period. Brett Budgell found a puck and completely undressed a backpedalling Sea Dogs defender. He danced around Bouthillier and put the puck high, giving Budgell his second goal of the season.
Nikita Alexandrov would put add another marker just a minute later and that put the game on ice.
Matthew Welsh made 23 saves for his 102nd career victory. Thomas Casey added another assist, giving him points in all five games to start the season.
The game got chippy in the second period after a few big hits, and the Islanders didn’t back down. As Hulton would describe it, it was a good show of team toughness.
“You don’t necessarily have that many heavy players, but I loved the response,” said Hulton. “Everybody on the ice jumped in to defend their teammate. You can see the bonds building with this group, and it’s a credit to our leaders. They’ve done a wonderful job of setting the tone and expectations.”
The Islanders are right back in action on home ice tomorrow night. Jacob Goobie gets the nod in goal when the Isles take on Patrick Roy and the Quebec Remparts at 7:30pm. Tickets are still available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com. Don’t forget it’s Olde Dublin Pub Happy Hour; Carter MacLellan will be playing tunes at 6:30 while drinks are $3.50 before and after the game!