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Banged up Islanders hobble into Bathurst for Wednesday tussle

Charlottetown Islanders. Submitted
Charlottetown Islanders. Submitted

The injury bug keeps sinking its teeth into the Charlottetown Islanders as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League squad hobbles into Bathurst, N.B., Wednesday to tangle with the Titan.

In fact, lost for Wednesday and shut down through the Christmas break are defencemen Saku Vesterinen (concussion) and Taylor Egan (shoulder), and forward Nathaniel Doyon (hip).

D-man Brendan Clavelle serves a one-game suspension Wednesday for a checking to the head penalty in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Gatineau.

That loss also cost the Isles Vesterinen, who was driven into the boards by former Islander Shawn Boudrias and never returned (Boudrias got two games for the offence).

So Jim Hulton, Isles head coach, will drill into his players the meaning of a simple road game.

“We need to manage the puck and our energy level. A tight defensive concept in all zones will be essential for our success,” said Hulton, who doubles as Islanders general manager, via text on Tuesday.

To compensate Hulton has called up blue-liner Jack DesRoches from the junior A Miramichi Timberwoves of the Maritime Hockey League. The Days Corner native has four assists and 24 penalty minutes in 24 games with the ‘Wolves this season. The Isles are also adding Summerside Western Capitals player TJ Shea.

That leaves the back end with DesRoches, Noah Massie, Hunter Drew, Olivier DesJardins and Pierre-Oliver Joseph, although Hulton said he may call up another player as well.

And all that also brings to mind another tenet of playing on the road.

“We must avoid unnecessary penalties,” said Hulton.

Summerside’s Noah Dobson has moved into sixth spot in Sportsnet’s NHL draft chart for December. The 18-year-old defenceman has four goals and 31 points in 32 games. He leads all d-men in points and tops the league in assists (27).

On Friday, the Isles host Cape Breton, at 7 p.m., at Eastlink Centre, before finishing the first half of the season on Saturday versus the Sea Dogs in Saint John. Game time is 7 p.m.

The regular season resumes after the Christmas break Thursday, Dec. 28.

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