Wild wins close opener

Jason Simmonds
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Thususka, McQuaid, Oliver key performers

KENSINGTON – The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild struck first in the provincial major midget championship series Saturday night.

The Wild pulled out a 2-1 home-ice win before 450 fans at Community Gardens.

“It was a good game and it is what I expected,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “It’s a new season right now and there are going to be close games all around.

“Obviously, there was some rust from our two-week layoff, but I’m proud of our guys the way we worked and held onto a one-goal lead throughout the third period.”

Click here for game photos:

Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is at MacLauchlan Arena in Charlottetown on Sunday at 1:45 p.m.

“It is a short turnaround, but we’ll be ready to go,” said Dunn.

 

Quick goals

All three goals were scored in a span of less than two minutes late in the first period. Zach Thususka opened the game’s scoring at 16:05 of the first period, but Connor McGregor tied the game 11 seconds later.

Chris McQuaid’s power-play goal at 17:49 regained the lead for Kensington.

Riley Gallant, Evan Gallant, TJ Shea and Brodie MacArthur earned assists for the Wild. Jordon Birt picked up the lone helper on Charlottetown’s goal.

“It was a good game and it is what I expected. It’s a new season right now and there are going to be close games all around. Obviously, there was some rust from our two-week layoff, but I’m proud of our guys the way we worked and held onto a one-goal lead throughout the third period.” Wild head coach Kyle Dunn

Both goaltenders – Luke Oliver of the Wild and the Islanders’ Noah Laybolt – turned in strong performances. Laybolt was the busier of the two as he turned aside 40 of 42 shots while Oliver stopped 19 of 20 shots.

“The boys played really good in front of me and did not give up very many shots on net,” said Oliver, who recorded a league-leading 14 wins during the regular season. “The defence did a good job keeping the guys to the outside, letting me see the shots, blocking shots and getting the puck out.”

Dunn was quick to praise to praise the Wild’s defensive play in Game 1.

“Obviously, we have a great offence, but our defence and goaltending do not get enough credit,” said Dunn. “As you saw tonight (Saturday),  our guys played tight in our own zone.”

The Wild was assessed five minors and one double minor for head contact. The Islanders received four minors and one double minor for spearing.

 

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

 

Organizations: Islanders

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Community Gardens, Kensington

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  • Coach's Corner
    February 28, 2016 - 09:45

    It seemed like the Wild were on the powerplay most of the night, not because the Islanders were in penalty trouble, but just how they could move the puck so easily in a 5 on 5 situation in the offensive zone. Actually, they moved the puck better in 5 on 5 situations than when they were on the power play.