CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Charlottetown Islanders 3-2 win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titan on Friday may have had a little spiritual help.
At least in the eyes of defenceman Pierre-Oliver Joseph, who scored the game-winning goal two and a half minutes after taking a cross-checking penalty with the game tied 2-2.
“I think it was karma,” Joseph said with a smile after his team went to 5-0 against the Titan this season. “We took some bad penalties, including myself. I was happy and mad at myself at the same time. We know they’re a good team on the other side and we want to compete. We know they’re going for it this year so we just want to prove something.”
With the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League win, the Isles move to 22-11-2, good for 46 points, second place in the Maritimes Division and sixth overall.
The Titan dropped to 19-10-6-2, also good for 46 points but third in the Maritimes.
Both teams had jump in the first period at the Eastlink Centre and Charlottetown struck first thanks to Keith Getson’s laser-guided power-play marker over goalie Reilly Pickard’s left shoulder.
That 1-0 edge lasted until Jordan Maher tied things near the end of the second frame off a sweet slot pass from Keenan MacIsaac. Former Isles forward Mitchell Balmas also earned an assist.
Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Western Capitals call-up T.J. Shea, who had his home debut in major junior Friday, had a 2-1 go-ahead goal in the third frame reviewed and disallowed after it was ruled the puck was kicked in.
But Sullivan Sparkes followed up that mess nine seconds later with the actual go-ahead goal to make it 2-1.
Maher struck back, however, a minute later at 9:56 to tie things again, this time at 2-2 and turning the game into a nail-biter. Summerside native Noah Dobson tallied an assist.
That was made worse after Joseph’s penalty, taken while chasing down a Titan forward steaming to the net with the puck.
Charlottetown killed the infraction, welcomed Joseph’s 3-2 goal and looked OK until Shea’s tripping penalty with 1:24 left gave the Titan a power play for the rest of the contest.
Pickard hit the bench shortly after the faceoff for a sixth attacker versus four defenders, but Charlottetown hung on and earned its second straight win to start the second half of the season.
As for why the Isles give the talented and deep Titan fits, Maher had no idea.
“I’m not really sure. I just don’t know. We came out hard. We had a few mistakes that cost us goals, but other than that we played a good game. We just didn’t get the bounces and at the end of the day sometimes that’s what it takes,” said Maher. “They’re a hard-working team. Give them credit, no one thought they’d be where they are right now.”
The teams play the second game of a home-and-home series Sunday in Bathurst, N.B. Game time is 1 p.m.
A look at Friday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game at the Eastlink Centre.
Acadie-Bathurst – Jordan Maher 2 (12).
Charlottetown – Keith Getson (13), Sullivan Sparkes (9), Pierre-Oliver Joseph (5).
Acadie-Bathurst – Keenan MacIsaac (18), Mitchell Balmas (14), Jeffrey Truchon-Viel (14), Noah Dobson (29).
Charlottetown – Hunter Drew 2 (16), Pierre-Olivier Joseph (22), Sam King (9), Nikita Alexandrov (8), Sullivan Sparkes (8).
Acadie-Bathurst – Reilly Pickard, 36-of-39, loss (14-11).
Charlottetown – Matthew Welsh, 23-of-25, win (20-9)
Attendance – 2,734 (announced).
By The Numbers
Shots By Period
Acadie-Bathurst – 4-10-11, 25.
Charlottetown – 12-11-16, 39.
Acadie-Bathurst – 16.
Charlottetown – 16.
Acadie-Bathurst – 1-for-6, 17 per cent.
Charlottetown – 1-for-5, 20 per cent.
Acadie-Bathurst – 8.
Charlottetown – 7.
Acadie-Bathurst – 1.
Charlottetown – 0.
50-50 – $1,952.50.