Major midget Islanders playing with nothing to lose in P.E.I. final

Charles
Charles Reid
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New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League

Loosey-goosey is the name of the Charlottetown Robin’s Donuts Islanders game when it faces the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild today in Kensington.

It’s Game 1 of the P.E.I. final in the N.B.-P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League playoffs, and the matchup pits the last place Islanders (2-31-2) versus the first place Wild (23-10-2). Start time is 7:30 p.m. in the best-of-seven series.

No chance for the Isles, you say? Maybe, but Charlottetown head coach Ryan Ramsay said his battle-tested team won’t give any ground.

“Basically, we’re going into (a situation) where all the pressure is on them. We’re going to play with nothing to lose. We’re going to play really loose,” said Ramsay. “Our guys have dealt with adversity all year and that’s not easy for 15 to 16-years-olds. I give a lot of credit to our guys for sticking together and I really think there’s an opportunity to show that in the playoffs.”

It’s been a tale of two teams all season.

Charlottetown struggled out of the gate losing its first 28 games (two were overtime losses) before back-to-back wins in mid-January.

Injuries to veterans hurt like losing captain Jordan McCabe for the year with a concussion 11 games into the season, as did the need to force younger players into roles they weren’t ready for.

Kensington started the season 6-4, but built on each outing to where it won all six of its December games and finished the season on a four-game win streak to earn the top spot overall.

Led by gunners Brodie MacArthur (60 points), TJ Shea (54 points) and Frank Fortin (41 points), who finished first, second and fifth, respectively, in the scoring race, Kensington was a handful for defences.

Its 164 goals scored was almost 30 more than the nearest competitor, the Fredericton Caps. It finished second in the league in power-play goals (37), but gave up a league third-worst 38 scores on the power play.

Ramsay agrees Kensington is a powerhouse, so, he said, Charlottetown must have its head in the game.

“They’re a very, very good offensive team, arguably one the best in the league especially on the power play. We have to be disciplined, we can’t let them have multiple chances,” said Ramsay. “In the offensive zone we’ll get pucks on the net and go to it, get those ugly goals. There aren’t too many tic-tac-toe goals in the playoffs.

Charlottetown is the defending P.E.I. champ after beating Kensington in six games last year. Kensington won two years ago in six games.

Regardless of this year’s result, Ramsay will remain proud of his squad.

“Nobody packed it in. We didn’t want losing to be something to accept. They came out to the rink (prepared to work). When the pick drops, they’ll be ready to go.”

Game 2 is Sunday, at 1:45 p.m., at the CARI Complex.

The winner moves on to the major midget Atlantics March 31-April 3 in St. John’s, N.L.

creid@theguardian.pe.ca

 

Organizations: Midget Hockey League

Geographic location: Kensington, Charlottetown

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