The Islanders were rolling into the Avenir Centre feeling good and with one goal in mind, sweep the Wildcats. With a 2-0 series lead in hand, with a win tonight, the Isles would not only advance to the second round but ensure themselves a few extra days rest before meeting their next opponents. Charlottetown looked to be in full playoff mode in game one winning in dominant fashion, they were also able to get the job done in game two but seemed as though the back-to-back took a slight toll on their energy. Coming off two days’ rest, the Isles would be revved up and ready to go like they were for game one and not let the Wildcats give their fans too much to cheer about. It was evident from the moment the puck dropped that the Isles had no desire to stay an extra night in Moncton.
The Islanders did just what they were expected to coming out fast and ready to finish things off against the Wildcats. The Isles second powerplay unit was the first to strike the scoreboard in this game doing so at 5:05 into the opening frame. Michael Horth cleaned up a rebound off of a point shot right in front of Lemieux and tucked it between the Moncton tendy’s legs for his first of the post-season. The apples were credited to Noah Laaouan and Dawson Stairs. Then, a little over three minutes later, it was the Isles league-best penalty kill doing more than just clearing the puck. Brett Budgell was rushing in on a 2-on-1 but decided to slow up and wait for Cormier to catch up, once Cormier arrived, the captain fed him the puck and he sniped it glove side on Lemieux for his second of the playoffs. Brett Budgell was the lone helper on the gino that put us up 2-0 before the first break.
The Islanders held the advantage in shots after twenty at 12-6.
The Islanders didn’t give up a spec of momentum in the second period and even though they were unable to add to their lead, they still dominated the play. Jonathan Lemieux had his work cut out for him in the second frame as he had to stop seventeen shots to keep his squad within two goals going into the final period. The Isles defense in the second frame was even more solid than the first as they allowed just three shots to make it to Lappena. Franky, while not being tested all that much, looked solid through forty minutes and kept his team’s lead intact. Jim Hulton would be looking to fire up his squad in the final break and have them come out strong and pad their lead in hopes of cementing their way to the second round.
The Islanders held onto the lead in shots at 29-9 after forty.
Jonathan Lemieux was able to keep his squad alive and give them a chance to get back into the game but the Wildcats just couldn’t get past the Islanders defense. Your goalie can only keep you in the game so long and eventually, Lemieux did crumble. At 10:59, on an Isles powerplay, Noah Laaouan let one fly with a clapper from the point and Lemieux was able to get a piece of it, but not enough to keep it from crossing the line to put the Islanders up 3-0. Zachary Roy was the helper on the tally. Just 22 seconds later, Drew Elliott doubled the Isles 2-0 lead they had entering the period with a quick snapshot. Elliott received the puck right in front of the crease and whipped it home past the glove of the Cats’ tendy who barely even flinched on the play. The helping hands on Elliott’s first of the playoffs were Owen Saye and Keiran Gallant. The Islanders coasted for the remainder of the frame but the celebrations finally got underway after an Xavier Simoneau tally at 18:39 into the period. Simoneau cleaned up the rebound and wristed it into the open net for his first of the playoffs and that marker sealed a 5-0 Isles win.
“Felt great, especially with the boys playing good tonight and especially just to get that win so it’s a bonus obviously that I got it but just to win and shut this game out with the boys is just awesome and we’re happy to get to the next round.” Drew Elliott said when asked how it felt to pot that first goal of the playoffs.
Final shots were 42-13 Islanders.
“I think we wanted to get better every single game and tonight was our best game of the series so far. We were good defensively, we got lots of shots on net and I like to say it starts defensively, and defense to offense I think we did a good job of that tonight.” Noah Laaouan said on a strong defensive game against the Wildcats.
Three Stars of the Game:
- Noah Laaouan(CHA)- One goal and two assists.
- Lukas Cormier(CHA)- One goal.
- Brett Budgell(CHA)- One assist.
“In some cases, knowing you’re the favorite, it’s almost a relief to get the job done. Sometimes though, you forget they’re kids and this is a fun time of year, it’s the best part about playing hockey is the playoffs and they deserve to celebrate the moment.” Jim Hulton said on the energy in the locker room after finishing off the Wildcats in round one.
The Islanders clearly didn’t want to spend an extra night in Moncton. They dominated the entire game and were able to score on the man advantage, the PK, as well as even strength. The Wildcats didn’t even register a shot on goal in the final frame until nearly fifteen minutes in. That’s not going to win you many hockey games let alone a series against the big, bad Islanders. It was a great performance to witness and an encouraging one as now the boys in black and harvest gold will get ready for round two! Get fired up folks, it’s only going to get better from here, after all, we’re all gold blooded!
“It’s nice that we played our best game of the series in the close-out game. These situations, you want to end it as quickly as possible. Rest becomes really valuable further on down the road and it’s just nice to have step one of the journey out of the way.” Jim Hulton said when asked about how it feels to get the sweep and head home.
GO ISLES GO!