Islanders hosting Game 6 with an eye on playing a Game 7
SUMMERSIDE — The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild can win the P.E.I. major midget hockey championship tonight.
The Charlottetown Mark’s Work Wearhouse Islanders are looking to force a seventh and deciding game at Community Gardens in Kensington on Saturday night.
The Wild take a 3-2 series lead into Game 6 of the best-of-seven provincial final at MacLauchlan Arena in Charlottetown, with the opening faceoff set for 8 p.m.
“We talked about Game 3 being a must-win and that is a cliché, but we have put ourselves in a position where they are must-wins now,” Islanders head coach Jeff MacDonald said on Tuesday. “I said earlier in the series, with these two teams, it would be no shock if it went the distance, and we are awful close.”
The Wild, after winning the first two games 9-2 and 7-4, regained the series lead with a hard-fought 6-3 win at the Gardens on Monday night in a game that was closer than the final score may indicate.
“It was a good game,” assessed forward Kyle Pinksen, who earned three assists in the Wild win. “We worked through everything.”
Pinksen earned three assists in Game 5, and played a key role on the fourth and fifth goals. On both tallies, Pinksen and his linemates, Cole Hackett and Max Morrison, worked hard down low, refused to give up on the puck and were buzzing around the Islanders’ zone before finally being rewarded.
Wild head coach Mark Carragher acknowledged Pinksen’s play following the game.
“His (Pinksen’s) whole line played well,” said Carragher. “He’s a first-year kid, and is playing great for us. . . It was definitely a big game from him.”
The Wild, who has outshot the Islanders in all five games and had lost Games 3 and 4 by 6-3 and 3-1 scores, found themselves down 3-2 just past the six-minute mark of the third period. The Wild, though, didn’t panic despite facing the possibility of giving up home-ice advantage, and answered back with four goals over the final 12:12 of the third period.
“It feels great to win, especially after being down,” said Hackett, who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal at 9:18.
Carragher liked how the Wild responded to the third-period deficit.
“Our guys never gave up, we battled through and finally got a few bounces,” said Carragher.
Overall, MacDonald said there were positives the Islanders can take from Game 5. He explained: “We played well for 50 minutes, and the last 10 they really took it to us. It just goes to show the importance of playing 60 minutes.
“Our power play was effective, we were 2-for-5, for the most part we played well defensively with the exception of a couple of lapses later on (in the game) that cost us. I would look back on the game that we played very well, and there was a small period where we had some breakdowns. You have to give Kensington credit for capitalizing.”
The series winner will represent P.E.I. at the Atlantic major midget hockey championship in New Glasgow, N.S., from April 3 to 6.