The Charlottetown Islanders that took two big points from the Cape Breton Eagles on Saturday night was not the same team that took the ice Monday afternoon against the Gatineau Olympiques.
After a game that saw the team leave it all on the ice Saturday night, the team looked, as described by head coach Jim Hulton, exhausted. Matthew Welsh would make 24 saves, but it wasn’t enough as the Olympiques would defeat the Isles 3-0 on Remembrance Day.
“We had an emotional win in Cape Breton on Saturday with a long trip home,” said Hulton on the team’s exhaustion. “The injuries are starting to catch up with us; you can see that in the legs of the guys that had to play. Noah Laaouan played over 34 minutes that night and Brendon Clavelle played 30.”
“I’ve been around long enough to know when the gas tank is empty, and today was just that.”
Hulton would add that he thought the team needed to get the first goal of the game to establish an advantage early; however, that wasn’t so. Metis Roelens would find a bouncing puck in the high slot, make a move to his forehand, and tuck it past Welsh for his 8th goal of the season.
The Islanders would try to establish a physical presence throughout the game, throwing hit after hit and even sparking a few fights. Brett Budgell would drop the mitts with Darick Louis-Jean before the end of the first period while Anthony Hamel would go after Carson MacKinnon in the second period.
Unfortunately for Hamel, MacKinnon was an unwilling combatant. The 17-year-old defender would be ejected from the game for being the aggressor, giving the Islanders a long five-minute penalty kill. The team would successfully kill the penalty off, but still go down 2-0; Keiran Craig would get a pass in the slot just as the penalty expired and scored, giving Craig his 5th goal on the year.
“Anthony’s trying to swing the momentum, which probably was not a great choice,” said Hulton on the Hamel fight. “That’s all part of the growing process as a player. We’re sticking up for each other, so that’s a step in the right direction.”
The Olympiques would extend their lead to three thanks to their captain. Charles-Antoine Roy would use his speed to get around an Isles defender and slice to the inside before going high on Welsh. For the over-age forward, that would be Roy’s 11th goal of the season.
From there, the Olympiques would lock it down in the third period, squandering minimal chances for the Isles to crawl back in to the game and securing the victory.
Rémi Poirier made 27 saves for the shutout, while MacKinnon, the Summerside native, recorded an assist in his home province.
16-year-old forward Ben Boyd made his QMJHL debut today for Charlottetown. The Islanders drafted Boyd in the 5th round of the 2019 QMJHL Draft, and Hulton said he was impressed with the youngter’s performance.
“I thought Benny did great. It’s nice to see a big body out there,” said Hulton on the 6’2 forward. “It’s no secret that we want to get bigger as we move down the road, and Ben was a big part of that. I thought for his first game, he did really well.”
The task doesn’t get any easier for the Islanders, as they’ll head on the road Thursday night to take on the Moncton Wildcats. The two teams will meet twice this weekend, with the Wildcats visiting the Eastlink Centre on Sunday afternoon. Tickets are available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com