Islanders looking to maintain home-ice advantage tonight

Jason Malloy
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Charlottetown hosting Rimouski in Game 3 of QMJHL series

The Charlottetown Islanders have home-ice advantage and don't want to give it up.

The Islanders split the first two games of the best-of-seven Quebec Major Junior Hockey League first-round playoff series with the Rimouski Oceanic.

They host Game 3 tonight and Game 4 Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.

"You want to take advantage of the home-ice games," said Isles captain Oliver Cooper. "It's always tough going into other teams' rinks and trying to steal a game off them, especially in the playoffs."

Goalie Mason McDonald said the split on the road was key.

"We look at it as a five-game series now and we have three of them at home," he said.

The Islanders lost the opener 2-1 on Friday before winning Game 2 5-4 in overtime on Saturday.

"That's what playoffs is all about. Every game is going to be close," Cooper said.

McDonald said it is fun to be part of a goalie duel with Louis-Philip Guindon.

"He's played good the first two games, I think I've played pretty good the first two games, it's been pretty even so far," he said.

McDonald and defenceman Jonathan Duchesne both said the atmosphere in Rimouski, Que., was loud and they are hoping for a supportive crowd in Charlottetown.

The Islanders won seven straight at home to end the regular season. Their last loss on Eastlink Centre ice was Feb. 3 against Shawinigan.

Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said he's not putting too much stock in regular season records.

"It's a brand new season for a reason," he said, but "we're confident and we're comfortable in this environment, but we have to make it uncomfortable for them."

Being at home gives Hulton the last line change. It provides an opportunity to get his key guys away from the opposition's checking unit and his best defenders out against the Oceanic snipers.


Familiar faces

The Rimouski Oceanic are in town for Games 3 and 4. Islanders will notice a couple of familiar names on the visiting team's lineup.

Centre Carson MacKinnon is a Summerside native who is in his first season with the Oceanic. He scored in Game 2.

Defenceman Guillaume Rioux-Legault played two seasons with the Charlottetown Islanders and started this season with the UPEI Panthers depsite having a year of junior eligibility remaining. The Islanders traded the overage defenceman's rights to Rimouski on Dec. 7 for a seventh-round draft pick in 2016.

Organizations: Islanders, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Rimouski, Charlottetown, Shawinigan Summerside

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