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Islanders head coach pleased with team after competitive first game

CORNWALL, P.E.I. – The Moncton Wildcats scored twice 1:18 apart midway through the third period to defeat the Charlottetown Islanders 4-2 to start the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League pre-season.

“I thought we over-handled the puck at certain times, and it cost us a couple of goals,” Isles head coach Jim Hulton said. “Probably the last two goals, the puck could have, and should have, been out of the zone a lot quicker, (but) those are things that come with practice time.”

Casey Fox scored the winner while Jonathan Aspirot’s second of the night was the insurance marker. Summerside’s Jeremy McKenna scored on a second-period power play for Moncton’s other goal.

Charlottetown received power-play goals from rookies Nathaniel Doyon and Drew Johnston, who tipped a point shot over Zachary Paradis for his marker to tie the game 2-2 3:19 into the third period.

“It was nice to get my first one out of the way,” Johnston said. “(Dominic) Hachey gave me a nice pass, and I just got underneath it and put it upstairs. It was a special feeling.”

The Saint John, N.B., native was drafted in the fourth round in June.

“I’ve been waiting all summer (for camp), training hard,” he said.

He hopes to crack the lineup and continue to improve.

Hulton liked what he saw.

“He’s been impressive,” the head coach and general manager said. “He looks like he’s got a nose for the net.”

Charlottetown Islanders rookie Nathaniel Doyon, right, shields the puck from Moncton Wildcats defenceman Jonathan Aspirot during Wednesday's pre-season game at the APM Centre in Cornwall.

He also said Doyon had his best day of camp and goalie Dakota Lund-Cornish played well while facing 35 shots.
Hulton said he was pleased to see his team in a tied game midway through the third in the opener.
“Maybe I’m not bright enough to see we’re not going to be a good team because I still think we are,” he said. “We’re going to win games in a different fashion than we did a year ago. They had a lot of veterans in their lineup and to be right there 2-2 in a competitive game was a great sign for Game No. 1.”
Hulton watched the game while associate coach Guy Girouard and assistant coach Brad MacKenzie were behind the bench.
A lot of the Islanders veterans, including Pascal Aquin, Will Bower, Dillon Boucher, Keith Getson, Gregor MacLeod, Hunter Drew, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, Saku Vesterinen, Noah Massie and Matthew Welsh and import rookie Nikita Alexandrov, did not play.

Hulton said it is important to give players trying to crack the roster an opportunity to play, particularly early in camp.

Seacow Pond’s Brad Morrissey, who the Islanders selected in the third round of June’s draft, has decided to return to Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask., and play for Summerside native Devan Praught.

“He’s not saying, ‘No down the road,’ but just felt more comfortable playing at Notre Dame (this season),” Hulton said. “He’s in good hands out there, and we’ll look forward to having him here next year.”

The Islanders top pick, Brett Budgell, is expected to make his decision after his family discusses their options on the weekend.

Charlottetown opens the regular season at home on Friday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. against the Wildcats.


Highlight reel

A look at Wednesday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League pre-season game between the host Charlottetown Islanders and visiting Moncton Wildcats at the APM Centre in Cornwall.


Moncton – 4.

Charlottetown – 2.


Moncton – Jeremy McKenna, Jonathan Aspirot (2) and Casey Fox.

Charlottetown – Nathaniel Doyon and Drew Johnston.


Moncton – Brodie MacArthur, Riley MacRae, Daniil Kuzmin, Francis Thibeault and Brady Pataki.

Charlottetown – Antoine Leblanc, William Leblanc and Dominic Hachey.


Moncton – Matthew Waits, 12 saves on 13 shots; Zachary Paradis, eight saves on nine shots.

Charlottetown –  Dakota Lund-Cornish, 31 saves on 35 shots.

Power plays

Moncton – 1-for-4.

Charlottetown – 2-for-8.

Faceoffs won

Moncton – 38.

Charlottetown – 21.


Moncton – 9.

Charlottetown – 14.

Attendance – 438.



Charlottetown Islanders pre-season schedule


Charlottetown at Moncton, 7 p.m.


Charlottetown at Acadie-Bathurst, 7 p.m.

Sept. 9

Charlottetown at Cape Breton, 7 p.m.

Sept. 16

Cape Breton at Charlottetown, 7 p.m.

Sept. 17

Acadie-Bathurst at Charlottetown, 3 p.m.

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