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Isaak Pelletier follows dream to Charlottetown


New Brunswick goaltender makes his home debut tonight with Islanders

Isaak Pelletier attended the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft twice.

And twice he heard about 250 players’ names called, but not his.

“I was pretty disappointed,” he admitted before Tuesday’s Charlottetown Islanders practice. “(But) now I am here, so I am pretty happy.”

The 17-year-old goalie from Saint-Quentin, N.B., hopes his story is a message for other midget-aged hockey players to not let draft day define them.

“It’s basically never give up and always follow your dreams,” he said, and “always do your best every single time that you step your foot on the ice for practice and the games.”

Pelletier, the six-foot-two, 180-pound netminder, will make his first start on home ice tonight when the Islanders (27-14-2-3) host the Victoriaville Tigres (19-26-2-1) at 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.

“It’s pretty exciting to play in the first game at home,” he said, noting he has family and friends coming to the game. “It’s pretty nice to have them here.”

Head coach Jim Hulton said he is looking forward to Pelletier getting a chance to play before the home crowd.

“He’s a real competitive, gamer-type of kid, who rises to every challenge that is put in front of him,” he said. “I think he needs to just take a deep breath and go out and have fun.”

Pelletier was a territorial pick of the Campbellton Tigers at the 2017 Maritime Hockey League draft. He started the season there and caught the attention of the Islanders, who signed him in October and called him up after trading Dakota Lund-Cornish to Sherbrooke after Christmas.

Pelletier got into his first game Jan. 9 in Cape Breton for 1:14 and stopped the only shot he faced. Matthew Welsh was forced to momentarily leave the game due to an equipment issue.

His first start came Jan. 20, when he made 32 saves in a 4-2 win over the Val-d’Or Foreurs in northern Quebec.

“He stopped a partial breakaway in his first game in Val-d’Or and it was almost the best thing that happened to him,” Hulton recalled. “You could see him calm down.”

Pelletier said making the early stop relieved some stress and boosted his confidence.

He’s looking forward to continue to improve while working with veteran Matthew Welsh and goalie coach Paul Drew this season.


Upcoming games

A look at the Charlottetown Islanders next couple of weeks.

Tonight

7 p.m. – Victoriaville at Charlottetown.

Friday

7 p.m. – Charlottetown at Moncton.

Saturday

7 p.m. – Sherbrooke at Charlottetown.

Wednesday, Feb. 6

7 p.m. – Charlottetown at Halifax.

Friday, Feb. 8

7:30 p.m. – Drummondville at Charlottetown.

Saturday, Feb. 9

7 p.m. – Charlottetown at Saint John.

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