Islanders will keep playing key guys to end of regular season

Published on March 15, 2017

Guillaume Brisebois is the Charlottetown Islanders captain.

©Jason Malloy/TC Media

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders won’t be resting guys in the final week of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) regular season.

“I’m not a believer in it,” Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said. “I’ve done it some in the past and I thought we lost a little bit of chemistry and flow. I think the benefit of staying in the grove and playing the right way far outweigh the rest.”

The Islanders are on the road today in Halifax for a 7 p.m. game with the Mooseheads. They finish the regular season at home with games against the Saint John Sea Dogs Friday at 7 p.m. and the Acadie-Bathurst Titan Saturday at 3 p.m.

No Islanders are unavailable tonight due to injury or illness and with close to a week off anticipated between the end of the regular season and beginning of the playoffs, Hulton wants to keep the ball rolling.

Charlottetown is five points back of the QMJHL’s first-place Saint John and five points up on Blainville-Boisbriand for fourth in the standings. Each team can earn up to six points.

Charlottetown is 9-1-0-0 in its last 10 games while Halifax (26-34-2-3) has dropped seven straight. The Mooseheads are tied with Rimouski for the final two playoff spots, one point up on Sherbrooke. Halifax finishes the season with games against Cape Breton and Saint John.

“We’re going to see a Game 7 mentality out of Halifax,” Hulton said. “A, they play us hard, and B, they’re fighting for their playoff lives.”

Goalie Mark Grametbauer gets the start for the Islanders.

While the Islanders players are excited about the playoffs, they are focused on the next three games, said captain Guillaume Brisebois.

“We have to go get those wins and after that we’ll think about the playoffs,” he said.

He said a good start would be key tonight against the Mooseheads.

With a healthy team, the Islanders have had competition for players to get into the lineup.

“Any time you have strong guys fighting to get in the lineup, it’s a positive,” said assistant captain Kameron Kielly. “Sometime it’s not easy, credit to them for battling each day. I think the internal competition is great. I think it’s healthy. It helps teammates be better and hold themselves accountable.”