Following a hard-fought 4-2 loss to the Rimouski Oceanic on Wednesday, the Charlottetown Islanders continue their swing through Eastern Quebec with a Friday night tilt against the upstart Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
The Drakkar currently sit atop the QMJHL standings, having not lost a game in regulation thus far this season. Their one loss came by way of a shootout against the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. They defeated the Sherbrooke Phoenix by a score of 4-3 on Tuesday in their last game.
The name of the game for the Drakkar this season has been offense. They’ve scored more goals than every other team in the league through six games, having not scored less than three in each of their games, including games with 6 and 9 goals for.
The high-powered offense is led in particular by Nathan Legare, Ivan Chekhovich, Yaroslav Alexeyev, and Gabriel Fortier. The quartet all sit atop the QMJHL points race; Legare and Chekhovich sit first and second respectively, while Alexeyev and Fortier are tied for fourth overall.
The big name on the back end for the Drakkar is Xavier Bouchard. The 6’3 defender from Trois-Rivières, QC was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Draft. He currently has 4 points in six games this season.
In goal, Justin Blanchette will get the nod over Kyle Jessiman, although the two have virtually split their starts evenly. The edge to this point goes to Blanchette; his 2.10 goals against average puts him among the top-5 in the league.
The visiting Islanders have had some struggle scoring goals this season, sitting 14th in the league with 15. The scoring has been distributed evenly throughout the lineup; no player has more than four points, and every skater who has suited up for more than two games has registered a point.
Fortunately for Charlottetown, their goaltending has made up for their offensive drought. Matthew Welsh and Dakota Lund-Cornish have looked exceptional between the pipes for the Isles. Welsh in particular still sits among the league leaders in goals against average and save percentage.
It all goes down in Baie-Comeau tonight at 8:30pm AST. Catch all the action tonight on Fair Isle Ford Isles Radio with George Matthews and Aidan Northcott! If you’ll be tuning in to the Neulion QMJHL Webcast, you’ll be able to catch George on the away feed!