Charlottetown Islanders listen to coach Gordie Dwyer during Thursday’s practice.
Charlottetown hosts Acadie-Bathurst Friday, Saint John Saturday
Being in the playoffs does not satisfy the Charlottetown Islanders.
The team clinched a playoff spot Wednesday night when the Saint John Sea Dogs lost to the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
The Isles have two games remaining in the regular season, tonight against the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and Saturday with the Sea Dogs. Both games are 7 p.m. starts at the Eastlink Centre.
“They’re pretty huge” games, right-winger Robert Pelletier said before Thursday’s practice. “I know we found out that we were in the playoffs last night, but it does not stop there one bit.”
The Islanders (20-38-3-5) and Titan (21-39-4-2) are tied with 48 points and battling for the 14th of 16 playoff spots.
“We obviously want to get that win against them,” said Pelletier, who was traded by the Titan to Charlottetown at the trade deadline. “It’s going to be a huge game for us. We’re all . . . pumped up and ready to go.”
Coach Gordie Dwyer said his team is looking forward to competing in the playoffs, but its focus is finishing strong.
“There’s still some unfinished business,” he said. “We’ve been in this playoff push for the last couple of weeks and the guys have responded well and played hard.”
Both teams struggled for a month starting in mid-January. The Titan was winless in 13 games while the Islanders were winless in 12.
Dwyer said it took a while for the new players, acquired during the trade period, to find their way and the team had to adjust its systems to the new makeup of the team.
“We had to change a lot of how we had to play to be successful,” Dwyer said.
He credited the players for continuing to work hard and pointed to players like Pelletier, left-winger Julien Avon and defenceman David Henley as a few who have found their roles and are making consistent contributions for the squad.
“We’ve really come a long way. As a team we’ve stuck together and we’ve really grown as a family,” Pelletier said. “We’re jelling at the perfect time.”
Dwyer said the Titan had some veteran firepower in guys like Matthew Boudreau, Scott Oke, Alexandros Soumakis and Raphael Lafontaine and a veteran netminder in Jacob Brennan.
Centre Nathan Yetman said it is important to finish strong and take the confidence into the playoffs. While he said they are both attainable victories, they will be “hard-fought games.”
Yetman and defenceman Kevin Laliberte are the longest serving members of the Islanders franchise. Yetman said he is pleased with how the team has played and excited about the present and the future.
“We’ve been definitely playing playoff hockey,” he said, noting the franchise is heading in the right direction. “I’m happy I can be part of it.”
Shawinigan, Saint John and Sherbrooke are battling for the final playoff spot.
A look at tonight’s QMJHL game between the Charlottetown Islanders at the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
When – 7 p.m.
Where – Eastlink Centre
Titan – 21-39-4-2.
Islanders – 20-38-3-5.
Islanders 5 Titan 3
Titan 5 Islanders 2
Islanders 2 Titan 3
Titan 0 Islanders 4
Islanders 0 Titan 4
Titan 2 Islanders 1
Islanders 2 Titan 3 SO
Titan 1 Islanders 3
Player GP G A Pts.
M. Boudreau 56 15 29 44
S. Oke 66 17 22 39
A. Soumakis 61 18 19 37
R. Lafontaine 51 13 17 30
C. Boivin 64 12 17 29
G. Brisebois 59 3 15 18
D. Sprong 65 28 38 66
A. Goulet 64 26 20 46
A. Cortese 66 8 23 31
S. Cobbold 50 14 16 30
K. Kielly 64 10 20 30
T. Vance 57 8 20 28
Player GP GAA S%
J. Brennan 53 3.48 .894
M. Sullivan 11 4.08 .900
M. McDonald 28 3.50 .898
E. Brassard 31 3.57 .900
Following are the winners of the Charlottetown Islanders’ annual fan choice awards
Red Shores Volunteer of the Year – George Lidstone.
Fair Isle Ford Most Dedicated Employee – Andrew (Spider) MacNeil.
Morton Dew Rookie of the Year (voted by the fans) – Daniel Sprong.
Moore Well Drilling Offensive Player of the Year (voted by the fans) – Daniel Sprong.
E-Accounting Defensive Player of the Year (voted by the fans) – Craig MacLauchlan.
Ocean 100 Most Dedicated Player (voted by the fans) – Nathan Yetman.
UPEI Scholastic Player of the Year – Craig MacLauchlan.
Mayor’s Choice for Community Involvement – Mike DiPaolo.
Dunne Consulting Hardest Worker (voted by the fans) – Spenser Cobbold.
Eastlink Fan Favourite (voted by the fans) – Kameron Kielly.
Maritime Electric Perseverance Award – Alexandre Goulet.
The MooseLight Most Valueable Player – Daniel Sprong.