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Charlottetown Islanders ready for ‘big challenges’

Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Noah Laaouan skates up ice during Tuesday's practice at Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Noah Laaouan skates up ice during Tuesday's practice at Eastlink Centre. - Jason Malloy

Team travels to Halifax Wednesday night, hosts Drummondville on Friday

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The Charlottetown Islanders are looking to respond after one of its poorer performances in its latest outing.

The Islanders fell behind 5-0 to the Sherbrooke Phoenix and battled back before losing 6-4 on Saturday night.

They travel to Halifax tonight to play the Moooseheads at 7 p.m. before hosting the Drummondville Voltigeurs, which will also be the return of former captain Pierre-Olivier (P.O.) Joseph, on Friday.

“It wasn’t pretty in here Saturday night, and I think they’re smart enough to know that if we have an effort like that against either Halifax or Drummondville, it’s going to be a very, very long night,” head coach Jim Hulton said Tuesday.

In the past, the Isles would lean on the veteran leadership of Joseph or Keith Getson. Both have since been traded, so who does the team turn to now?

“You’re starting to see the voices emerge,” Hulton said.

The list includes veterans like Brendon Clavelle, Hunter Drew and Jordan Maher, as well as sophomore Brett Budgell’s lead-by-example approach.

With fewer than 20 games remaining on the docket, the team is trying to finetune its game heading towards the playoffs.

“We have to start to get some consistency in our game,” said the head coach.

Halifax (36-11-2-1) is second in the Eastern Conference while Charlottetown (29-15-2-3) is fifth. Drummondville (37-10-2-0) is second in the Western Conference.

“They're going to be two big challenges,” defenceman Xavier Bernard said. “I can’t wait to play those games.”

The Herd has been dealing with some injuries of late, but they won’t be overlooked by the Islanders.

“They still have a number of weapons in the lineup,” Hulton said.

Matthew Welsh gets the start tonight.

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