CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders know a better effort and a complete game is needed tonight in order to have a better result than the last time they played the Halifax Mooseheads.
The Atlantic Division rivals meet at 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.
“We have to shut them down,” Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said Tuesday. “We have to think defence first against this club. . . I think we strayed from that plan last time, so let’s see what we learned.”
He said the matchup has been highly competitive with the Herd this season but added the last meeting, a 6-2 loss on Feb. 6 in Charlottetown, which led to a 30-minute discussion by the team after the game, was one of the club’s poorest performances of the season.
“We need to be a lot more competitive and a lot more physical than we were,” Hulton said.
The Mooseheads have a high-octane offence, led by Otto Somppi, of YouTube fame, who has 23 goals and 50 assists in 49 games. Overagers Maxime Fortier and Connor Moynihan, who will play his 300th game for the Herd tonight, are also among their top scorers.
The Moose have a bevy of draft-eligible players expected to hear their names called this June at the NHL draft. It is led by Filip Zadina, who has 39 goals and 30 assists in 46 games during his rookie season in Canada, and includes forwards Raphael Lavoie and Benoit-Olivier Groulx, defenceman Jared McIsaac and goalie Alexis Gravel. The last four were all drafted at the 2016 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft at the Eastlink Centre.
Halifax (37-13-6-1) has won three straight games and is 7-2-1-0 in its last 10, while Charlottetown (31-21-4-0) has won back-to-back games. The Isles have won three of their past four and are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10.
Hulton said the team is starting to get back to the way it played during the first half of the season. The team earned four out of a possible six points on the recent Quebec road trip, and he liked the compete level displayed by his charges.
“Hopefully, we keep the momentum rolling,” Hulton said. “This time of the year, you want to start to find your groove and find your A game.”
Matthew Welsh gets the call in the Isles crease.
The team is healthy with defenceman Brendon Clavelle the only one out at this point. There’s a shot he draws back in on Sunday against Saint John with the team expected to know more after his doctor’s appointment today.
Need to know
A look at the season series between the Halifax Mooseheads and Charlottetown Islanders:
Halifax 3 at Charlottetown 2
Charlottetown 0 at Halifax 3
Charlottetown 2 at Halifax 6
Halifax 2 at Charlottetown 3 OT
Charlottetown 2 at Halifax 0
Charlottetown 3 at Halifax 6
Halifax 3 at Charlottetown 2 OT
Halifax 6 at Charlottetown 2
The Charlottetown Islanders have 12 games remaining in the regular season. Here’s a look at the remaining games in February:
7 p.m. – Halifax at Charlottetown.
7 p.m. – Charlottetown at Saint John.
3 p.m. – Saint John at Charlottetown.
7 p.m. – Acadie-Bathurst at Charlottetown.