© Guardian Photo By Jason Malloy
Charlottetown Islanders' Anthony Cortese
Anthony Cortese is providing a dynamic element to the Charlottetown Islanders’ blue-line this year.
The slick-skating Montreal native has quarterbacked the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team’s power play while matching up against other teams’ top lines.
“He’s got that shake and bake,” fellow defenceman Troy Vance said. “You give him the puck in a situation where sometimes a defenceman may not come out (of) with the puck on his stick, but he’s able to.”
Strong skating and the ability to move the puck up ice have always been hallmarks of Cortese’s game.
“It doesn’t come easy, but you have to work on them,” he said.
In his second year in Charlottetown, Cortese is being counted on more. He traces the difference back to the beginning of the season.
“I just came into camp more in shape and it’s shown on the ice,” he said. “When you’re playing more, obviously you have more confidence and you try to lead the team by example.”
Islanders coach Gordie Dwyer has been pleased with Cortese’s game.
“He wheels the puck pretty wheel and has a good head for the game offensively,” he said. “We knew he had that offensive upside, but he’s been able to take his game to another level this year.”
Cortese was not getting a lot of opportunities to play last year in Gatineau before being acquired by the P.E.I. Rocket.
“When I got here I was very fortunate,” Cortese said. “They treated me well. I’m not sure where I would be without the trade.”
Coming to a veteran team Cortese was sometimes used as a forward. He started his hockey career up front before a coach in peewee moved him to the blue-line. It was a different at first, but he said Tuesday, “Now I love it.”
Cortese wants to finish the year strong and help the team make the playoffs.
“Hopefully from there (we) have an upset in the first round,” he said.
u Who – A defenceman with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
u Hometown – Montreal.
u Age – 20.
u Size – Five-foot-11, 185 pounds.
u Acquired – The P.E.I. Rocket traded F Kelly Bent to Gatineau on Dec. 22, 2012 for Cortese.
u Statistics -
Season GP G A Pts.
2011-12 42 3 13 16
2012-13 60 5 9 14
2013-14 47 6 16 22
u Quote – “He’s been great this year. He’s quarterbacked our power play since the beginning, he’s played top minutes against their top players, he’s been a leader this year.” - Defenceman Troy Vance.