Samuel Blais scores in OT to give Isles 3-1 lead

Samuel Blais helped the Islanders put the Rimouski Oceanic on the brink of elimination with a 4-3 overtime victory on Wednesday night.

He scored 6:31 into the extra period to give Charlottetown a 3-1 lead in the series.

“I’m really happy, but I think most important is the win,” he said after the game.

“I don’t remember being that excited for a goal in a long time,” said Kameron Kielly. “But credit to us, and it’s a big win.”

In terms of wins, it’s pretty much as big as it gets, he said.

“Biggest win of the year, I think. We have them on the edge and it’s our job to go into Rimouski and finish the job.”

Head Coach Jim Hulton said that with Game 5 heading to Rimouski on Friday, things could have been a lot different in the Oceanic had picked up the win.

“The momentum would’ve swung in their favour big-time heading into their rink.

“We were a little bit lucky tonight, I didn’t think we had our best game by any stretch. We’re gonna have to be a lot better to close them out.”

A big part of the Isles’ victory was the play of goaltender Mason McDonald, who stopped 38 of 41 in the win.

“He’s made the big saves at the right time,” said Hulton. “There were different times when Rimouski had the momentum, but that’s playoff hockey. The pendulum swings back and forth and you need your goalie to kind of stem the tide and he did a great job.” 

After no scoring in the first period, it only took 68 seconds in the second to get the Isles on the board.

Blais made a great feed to Kielly in front of the net, who slotted it past Alexandre Lagacé to open the scoring.

Later in the period, the lead was doubled as Alexis Vanier picked up his team-leading fourth goal of the postseason to make it 2-0 at 9:11. 

A few minutes later, with a penalty to Vanier just about to expire, Matous Belohorsky grabbed a rebound in front of McDonald to make it a one-goal game.

But Filip Rydstrom restored the lead before the period was over, going around the pads of Lagacé at the 15:02 mark to make it 3-1.

The Oceanic came out of the gates fast and furious in the third and tied things up on their first two shots.

Nicolas Werbik got one at the 1:37 mark on the power play, and then a minute later Jérémie Beaudin tied things up at 3 a piece.

That was it for scoring in regulation and the extra period was needed to decide the contest.

After some close chances for both teams in the first six minutes of overtime, Pierre-Olivier Joseph took a shot from the point that trickled through Lagacé and through the crease, where Blais jumped on it to make sure it crossed the line.

“P.O. shot the puck and it goes between (the goaltender’s) legs and I dived to put the puck in,” he said.

The series now returns to Rimouski for Game 5 where the Islanders will have the chance to end the Oceanic’s season.

“We came here 1-1, (got) two big wins and we’ll go there to end the series,” said Blais. “Play hard all game, and we’re gonna be fine I think.”

Game 5 takes place Friday night at 8:30 p.m. AT. Fans can be sure they don’t miss a moment of the action at home by listening along to Fair Isle Ford Isles Radio.

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