© Jason Malloy/The Guardian
Jonathan Duchesne takes part in Monday's Charlottetown Islanders practice at MacLauchlan Arena.
Jonathan Duchesne played 226 major junior hockey games, but Friday he was a rookie again.
The Charlottetown Islanders defenceman played in his first playoff game in Rimouski, Que.
"It was exciting," said the 20-year-old Brampton, Ont., native. "It took a while, but I am happy it was with this team. I think we have a good group, and it's going to be a good run."
He said there were some jitters early in the game, but he relied on his four seasons of major junior experience to get him through.
"Even if it's the first playoff, you've been in situations where it's kind of like do or die," he said. "At the end of the day, you just have to stay calm and put the nerves aside."
The intensity level was amped up for the post-season contests, he said.
"The games a bit more physical. The guys are going hard, blocking more shots."
The Islanders earned a split in Rimouski and host the Oceanic tonight and Wednesday at 7 p.m. for Games 3 and 4.
Duchesne was a second-round pick of the Ontario Hockey League's Ottawa 67's in 2012 and played with them as a 16-year-old. He played 2013-14 there and started 2014-15 in the nation's capital before being sent to the Sudbury Wolves.
The Wolves released him in October, and the Islanders were looking for a steady, physical, left-shot defenceman.
"He certainly fits that bill," said head coach Jim Hulton. "He's done a terrific job for us."
Hulton said Ducesne plays a playoff-style game.
"Johnny is at his best when he keeps the game simple and moves the puck," Hulton said. "If you go through a night and don't notice Jonathan, that's a compliment."
In 41 regular season games, the six-foot-one, 210-pound Duchesne had three assists and 48 penalty minutes.
Captain Oliver Cooper said it was exciting to see Duchesne get a chance to play in the playoffs.
"He's been playing great for us," Cooper said. "He's played some big minutes for us and played in some key situations."