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A tweak here, a tweak there

Charlottetown Islanders goalie Dakota Lund-Cornish slides across to make a save on Baie-Comeau Drakkar centre D'Artagnan Joly Monday at the Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders goalie Dakota Lund-Cornish slides across to make a save on Baie-Comeau Drakkar centre D'Artagnan Joly at a QMJHL game this season at the Eastlink Centre. - Jason Malloy

Islanders smoothing out the wrinkles as the QMJHL post-season looms

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Fine tuning is the name of the game for the Charlottetown Islanders as it approaches the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.

And Charlottetown (35-23-7) gets a chance work on those wrinkles when it faces the Acadie-Bathurst Titan (41-15-7-2) on Tuesday in Bathurst, N.B., a game originally scheduled for Wednesday but the league moved the game because of a threatened winter storm.

For Isles head coach Jim Hulton, regardless of the schedule, the tweaking continues over the team’s last three games in one area that’s haunted the squad all season.

“The big one’s the power play. The power play has to produce, but it’s not going to be a light switch. It’s improving. We’re at about 20 per cent over the last 10 games. Forget about the season average (now at 15.3) because there’s not enough games to improve it,” aid Hulton, who doubles as Isles general manager. “And we’ve got to be consistent in controlling our emotions. Keep on a even keel. The group has done a lot better at that.”

Charlottetown (77 points) is ninth overall and third in the Maritimes Division, while the Titan sit second overall and lead the division. 

Right now, the Isles have five points to make up against eighth-place Rouyn-Noranda (82 points). Each have three games remaining as does Drummondville, Victoriaville and Quebec - all possible first round opponents for Charlottetown.

Tuesday is also the first of a two-game, home-and-home set against the Titan to conclude the season series between the teams. Charlottetown leads the series 5-2.

Hulton said the team is healthy and backup Dakota Lund-Cornish gets start in goal for two reasons. 

First, resting starter Matthew Welsh, who was in the league offices in Montreal recently shooting video as a nominee for the scholastic player of the year award, and second Lund-Cornish has earned a bit extra time after he won a gruelling 11-round shootout battle against Kyle Jessiman in Saturday’s 4-3 win over Cape Breton.

“It’s mainly to reward Dakota for his play,” Hulton said.

Game 2 is Friday, at 7 p.m., at Eastlink Centre. 

The Isles wrap the regular season versus the Moncton Wildcats on Saturday. Game time is 3 p.m. at the Link.

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