Islanders enter Atlantics on a high

Jason Malloy
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'Fast-skating team' plays St. John's today

Timing is everything for the Charlottetown Mark's work Wearhouse Islanders.

After dwelling at the bottom of the New Brunswick-P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League standings for most of the year, Charlottetown heated up and upended the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild in six games in the best-of-seven P.E.I. final.

So which Islanders team will show up at the major midget Atlantic championship beginning today in Kensington?

Even Isles head coach Jeff MacDonald isn't sure.

"That's kind of been the $1 million question this year. We've been up and down," said MacDonald. "We had a lot of injuries, but people are healing up."

Regardless, Charlottetown will have its gloves full. The Atlantics draw the best major midget team in the region.

Games start today at 1 p.m. when the Isles face the St. John's Maple Leafs, the Newfoundland and Labrador champs.

Also in the tourney are the host Wild, the New Brunswick champ Moncton Flyers, which went 33-2 in the regular season and 8-2 in the playoffs to win the title, and the Nova Scotia-winning Newbridge Academy Gladiators.

The format is simple. Teams play a four-game round robin, with the top two going to the final, and nothing will be cakewalk, said MacDonald.

"Every game is going to be tough. There won't be any easy games for anyone."

For the Islanders, St. John's is an unknown other than a bit of film MacDonald has watched.

But the video revealed a rugged, aggressive team with heart.

"They won a couple of two and three-overtime games. A lot of grit and determination. They like to hit," he said. "We have a fast-skating team, but we're not scared to be physical. The key to us is we have four good lines."

Jonathan Arsenault led Charlotteown's playoff push with five goals and 10 points while Johnathan Larter, Hunter McIntyre and Sebastien Cormier each had eight points.

Noah Laybolt won three of the four playoff games in net versus the Wild, including the series clincher. Nolen McGuigan had the other victory.

As far as those aforementioned injuries, MacDonald isn't too worried. It's a hockey fact this late in the season.

"You play 35 games plus . . . tournaments. You're to be a little sore if you're playing in the Atlantics."

Sunday's title game goes at 1 p.m.

The winner moves on to the Telus Cup national midget championship April 20 to 26 in Riviere-du-Loup, Que.

Need to know

A look at the Atlantic major midget hockey championship that gets underway at Community Gardens in Kensington on Thursday:

Teams

Host – Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild

League: New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League

Regular-season record: 10-18-7.

Playoffs: 2-4.

Leading regular-season scorer: Max Morrison (19-10-29, 33 games).

Leading playoff scorer: Max Morrison (5-7-12, 6 games).

 

P.E.I. – Charlottetown Mark's Work Wearhouse Islanders

League: New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League

Regular-season record: 9-23-3.

Playoffs: 4-2.

Leading regular-season scorer: Jonathan Arsenault (28-7-35, 35 games).

Leading playoff scorer: Jonathan Arsenault (5-5-10, 6 games).

 

New Brunswick – Moncton Flyers

League: New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League

Regular-season record: 33-1-1.

Playoffs: 8-2.

Leading regular-season scorer: Liam Conrad (23-29-52, 35 games).

Leading playoff scorer: Chris Sarault (11-8-19, 10 games).

 

Nova Scotia – Dartmouth Newbridge

Academy Gladiators

League: Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League.

Regular-season record: 22-9-3.

Playoffs: 11-5.

Leading regular-season scorer: Ryan MacDonald (14-29-43, 34 games).

Leading playoff scorer: Morgan Baron (8-16-24, 16 games).

 

Newfoundland and Labrador – St. John's Maple Leafs

League: Newfoundland and Labrador Major Midget Hockey League.

Regular-season record: 24-7-1.

Playoffs: 8-2.

Leading regular-season scorer: Matthew Smith (15-20-35, 30 games).

Leading playoff scorer: Kyle McGrath (8-4-12, 10 games).

 

Today's schedule

1 p.m. - Charlottetown vs. St. John's.

4 p.m. - Moncton vs. Dartmouth.

7:30 p.m. - Opening ceremonies.

8 p.m. - Kensington vs. St. John's.

Organizations: Islanders, Maple Leafs, New Brunswick-P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League Newbridge Academy Gladiators Max Morrison Telus Mark's Work Wearhouse

Geographic location: St. John's, Charlottetown, New Brunswick Kensington Newfoundland and Labrador Nova Scotia Moncton Riviere-du-Loup Community Gardens Dartmouth

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