© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Guillaume Rioux-Legault of the Charlottetown Islanders watches as Islanders goalie Mason MacDonald makes the save during QMJHL action in the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown Wednesday night against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Every point counts for the Charlottetown Islanders as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs approach so even one tick gained in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles on Wednesday in Charlottetown is welcome.
That despite a difficult way to lose after Cape Breton's Maxim Lazarev nabbed a turnover at the centre line, cruised into the Islanders zone and lasered the winning goal low past Isles goalie Mason MacDonald with just over four minutes remaining in overtime.
“Just a bad bounce. The linesmen kind of got in the way, not his fault. Just a bad bounce. Hard to take,” said Isles forward Kameron Kielly, who was carrying the puck before the final turnover. “That point is huge. It’s frustrating, but we’re learning from those mistakes.”
The Islanders record went to 18-26-2-4 on front of 3,271 announced spectators at Eastlink Centre, maintaining Charlottetown 15th overall standing, tying it with Acadie-Bathurst and placing it two points ahead of Saint John which sits in the final playoff spot.
Cape Breton goes to 32-24-1-3 after its fifth straight win and sit in 10th overall. It's already clinched a playoff berth.
Charlottetown led 1-0 after the opening period on Thomas Stavert’s first goal in the QMJHL. Stavert, a Kensington native, was called up Wednesday from the Summerside Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League.
Cameron Darcy netted both regulation goals for Cape Breton in the second period, his first a trickler that meandered its way past MacDonald.
The second came off a sweet give-and-go-and-give with Julien Pelletier and Stephen Woodworth.
But the Islanders tied the game 2-2 in the third period on Daniel Sprong’s 23rd goal of the season. Kielly assisted on that goal, too.
All that led to Lazarev’s score as overtime waned.
“The guys battled hard mostly. We kept the shifts short and just kept going,” said Darcy, who leads the Eagles with 34 goals. “I think we’re looking good. We’re rolling right now with our fifth win in a row. Good team spirit. (We’re concentrating) on finishing the season strong. Doesn’t matter who we play (in the post-season), we’ll be ready.”
MacDonald stopped 52 shots, including 18 in the second period. He dropped to 5-14-1-1. Eagles goalie Zachary Fortin (13-3) kicked aside 27 shots for the win.
Next up, the Islanders face the Wildcats on Friday in Moncton at 7 p.m.
Rimouski forward Michael Joly and goaltender Philippe Desrosiers are the CHL player and goaltender of the week. Joly had three goals and 10 points in four games while Desrosiers went 3-0 including shutout with a 1.33 goals against-average and a .952. Desrosiers also set a new QMJHL record for shutout minutes (243 minutes, 35 seconds). . . . The Islanders’ year-end banquet and award presentations are Wednesday, March 12, at the Charlottetown Hotel. Fans can vote online for several awards at www.charlottetownislanders.com. . . . Islanders three- and six-game playoff ticket packages are available at Eastlink Centre Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., or at 629-6625.
A look at Sunday’s QMJHL game at Eastlink Centre:
u The Outcome - Cape Breton 3 Charlottetown 2 (OT)
u Goalscorers - Cape Breton: Cameron Darcy 2 (34), Maxim Lazarev (12); Charlottetown: Daniel Sprong (23), Thomas Stavert (1).
u Assists - Cape Breton: Charles-Eric Légaré (32), Kyle Farrell (27), Julien Pelletier (23), Stephen Woodworth (8); Charlottetown: Kameron Kielly 2 (19), Kevin Laliberté (11).
u Goalies - Cape Breton: Zachary Fortin, 27-of-29, win (13-3); Charlottetown: Mason McDonald, 52-of-55, loss (5-14-1-1).
u Attendance - 3,271 announced.
u Shots By Period - Cape Breton: 13-20-15-7, 55; Charlottetown: 10-5-10-4, 29.
u Penalty Minutes - Cape Breton: 9; Charlottetown: 13.
u Power Play - Cape Breton: 0-for-4; Charlottetown: 0-for-2.
u Hits - Cape Breton: 17; Charlottetown: 11.
u Hit Posts - Cape Breton: 2; Charlottetown: 1.