Hockey Islanders staying positive despite losing streak

Jason Malloy
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Zach Beaton, front, and Kameron Kielly go through a drill during Charlottetown Islanders practice Wednesday at Cody Banks Arena. The Islanders are back on home ice tonight when they host Moncton.

Charlottetown club hosts the Moncton Wildcats tonight at the Eastlink Centre

The Charlottetown Islanders are staying positive as the losses mount.

The Islanders (17-28-1-4) have lost seven in a row heading into tonight’s game at home with the Moncton Wildcats (25-24-0-2). Game time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

“It’s tough. Obviously, no one likes losing, especially seven in a row,” winger Zach Beaton said before Wednesday’s practice. “You can’t look at losing as always a bad thing, you have to try and take the positives out and move on.

“If we’re all negative coming to the rink every day it’s going to turn into a lot more than seven.”

The Islanders have played their last six games on the road, including last weekend’s three games in three nights swing through Quebec.

“It’s been tough as a team going through that,” winger Spenser Cobbold said. “There are a lot of positives we’ve been taking out of the games.”

He said the team has played more consistently and worked hard but hasn’t been getting the bounces.

Remaining in a positive frame of mind can be hard, Cobbold said.

“It’s definitely tough when you’re on a big slide like that to look at the positives, but we don’t really have a choice,” he said. “It’s what we have to do.”

He said there is a good group of guys in the dressing room who will continue working hard to break the streak.

“We’re excited to be home,” added Beaton, an 18-year-old Stratford resident. “We love playing at the (Eastlink) Centre, (there’s a) good crowd, and we try to win for them.”

Moncton comes to town with a some offensively gifted players, including Russians Ivan Barbashev and Vladimir Tkachev, who are eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft. The team is led by Conor Garland and Christophe Lalonde, who both have scored more than a point per game.

“We have to be able to shut them down. If we can do that we’ll be able to play our game,” Cobbold said.

Tkachev, the 39th pick in the 2013 Euro draft, is a five-foot-eight, 163-pound left-winger. The 18-year-old joined the Wildcats earlier this month and has two goals and three assists

in three games, including two goals and two assists

in his debut against Chicoutimi on Jan. 23.

Defenceman Luc Deschenes is out of the lineup with an ankle injury while Nathan Yetman will be a game-time decision. Mason McDonald gets the start for the Islanders.

****

Tonight’s QMJHL Game

u Who – Moncton Wildcats (25-24-0-2) at Charlottetown Islanders (17-28-1-4).

u Game time – 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.

u Top scorers -

Moncton: Conor Garland (22G, 29A in 49GP), Christophe Lalonde (29G, 21A in 47GP) and Ivan Barbashev (15G, 31A in 36GP).

Charlottetown: Daniel Sprong (20G, 28A in 50GP), Alexandre Goulet (19G, 11A in 48GP) and Kameron Kielly (9G, 15A in 50GP)

u Sin bin leaders -

Moncton: Dillon Donnelly (118 PIM) and Kyle Haas (108).

Charlottetown: Mike DiPaolo (111 PIM).

u Goalies -

Moncton: Alex Dubeau (24-20-0-2), 2.66 GAA and 0.915 save percentage.

Charlottetown: Eric Brassard (6-14-0-0), 3.33 GAA and a 0.908 save percentage; Mason McDonald (5-10-0-1), 3.32 GAA and 0.897 save percentage.

u Head-to-head meetings -

Nov. 3 - Moncton 6, Charlottetown 2,

Nov. 16 - Charlottetown 3, Moncton 2 (SO)

Dec. 11 - Moncton 5, Charlottetown 4 (SO)

Jan. 5 - Charlottetown 4, Moncton 1

Organizations: Eastlink Centre, Islanders, Wildcats

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Moncton, Quebec Stratford Chicoutimi

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