The Charlottetown Islanders put forth one of their best performances over the past few games against the Moncton Wildcats this afternoon, and reaped the benefits accordingly.
Drew Johnston scored the game-winner halfway through the third period, Matthew Welsh shut the door with a 25-save performance, and the Islanders broke their three-game losing skid with a 2-1 victory over the Moncton Wildcats.
“It was huge,” said Isles head coach Jim Hulton regarding the victory. “We’re extremely proud of the guys for their battle efforts. It’s a tired, beat up club that’s been through a lot, and that’s arguably one of the best games we’ve played.”
Hulton added that he didn’t mind his team’s game all weekend, and was happy to see them finally get rewarded for their hard efforts.
“We played with emotion, grit, and tenacity. It was an identity game; that’s the way we want to play, and have to play.”
The Isles were the first team on the board in the first period thanks to Xavier Fortin. The 17-year-old received a perfect pass from Cole Edwards on a 2-on-1 and made no mistake, one-timing a shot home from the slot past Wildcats starter Olivier Rodrigue. For Fortin, he expands on his newly-established career high in goals, with five on the season.
Kyle Foreman would restore the tie before the end of the first period for the Wildcats, leading to a virtual deadlock over the ensuing period and a half. Welsh and Rodrigue did their parts to keep their clubs in it, proving to the Eastlink Centre faithful why they’re two of the top netminders in all of the QMJHL.
“In order to shut down an offense like this, he has to be really sharp,” said Hulton regarding his veteran goaltender. “He’s had moments of up-and-down lately, like our whole club, but right from the beginning he was sharp in his movements, he was absorbing every puck, and it was a battle of two of the better goaltenders all night.”
The score would stay even until midway through the third period. On a play that looked awfully similar to his goal in the first, Xavier Fortin slid a perfect cross-ice pass to Johnston, who absolutely wired a slap shot past Rodrigue, sending the Edmonton Oilers prospect’s water bottle flying, and sending the Islanders fans home happy with 2 points under their belt.
Fortin finished the game with a goal and an assist. He’s just one point away from his career high of 11 established last season. William Trudeau and Edwards picked up the other single assists.
Forward Keiran Gallant suffered a broken collarbone in Saturday’s game against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Hulton expects the forward to be out long-term. It remains to be seen whether or not the team will call an affiliate player up heading in to another Quebec road trip.
Our next home game takes place Wednesday morning as we take on the Baie-Comeau Drakkar at 10:00am in our second annual School Day Game! Tickets are no longer available for that game; tune in to Fair Isle Ford Isles Radio for all the exciting morning action!