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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Daniel Hardie scored twice and Matthew Welsh held the lead Thursday as the Charlottetown Islanders defeated the Quebec Rempart 3-1 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.
The Islanders did all of their damage in the second period, scoring three times and outshooting the Remparts 18-6. The visitors held the shot advantage in the first and third periods 13-7 and 16-5, respectively.
“It’s nice to get a win on a night when we only played 20 minutes,” head coach Jim Hulton said. “I thought we were horseshit for most of the game – horrible start, horrible end, but Welsh was real good and the one period we played was really good.”
He said the team’s play was a residue effect of only having one game during the past week and the rust was evident early, despite warning the team during the leadup to the game.
Keith Getson scored a power-play goal to open the scoring 25 seconds into the second period and had an assist on Hardie’s first goal. Captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph and rookie Lukas Cormier each added an assist.
“It was a much-needed goal for the power play,” Hulton said. “Tonight, we won the special teams and the goaltending and, generally, whether you play good or play poorly, if you win those areas, you win the hockey game.”
Hardie now has a team-leading 18 goals on the season. He had gone four games without a goal leading into Thursday’s contest but was in the right spot at the right time Thursday.
“A couple of lucky bounces, I guess, just kind of fell right onto my stick there,” he said. “it’s nice to contribute tonight to get the win.”
The Islanders took the 3-0 lead into the third, but the ice tilted in the visitors’ favour.
Pierrick Dube scored an unassisted goal two minutes into the final frame when a drop pass to a teammate going to the bench on a line change created a breakaway for Dube. His initial shot beat Welsh, hit the post before bouncing off the goalie and into the net.
The Remparts pressed to make it a one-goal game, but each time Welsh rose to the occasion, including on a late 6-on-4 with the goalie pulled for the extra attacker on the power play.
“I felt the boys were blocking a lot of shots tonight, putting our bodies on the line. We really clogged up the middle, didn't allow them to get much from in the slot area,” said Welsh, who made 34 stops in the victory. “That allows me to do my job (and) control the rebounds.”
Hardie said Welsh has great poise and is calm in the net.
“I think he’s getting back to what we saw last year in the playoffs,” he said.
Dereck Baribeau made 27 saves in the loss.
The Islanders improved to 18-7-2-1 while the Remparts are 13-12-3-3.
Charlottetown travels to Moncton to play the Eastern Conference-leading Wildcats (21-8-2-0) Friday at 7 p.m. Welsh gets the call in the Isles crease.
“We have to be one hell of a better tomorrow night or it’s going to get ugly,” Hulton said after the game, but “this team has responded” in the past.
Welsh, whose older brother Nicholas played for the Wildcats last year, said he was looking forward to the team’s first visit to the new Avenir Centre.
“Moncton is one of my favourite teams to play against. You can kind of sense the rivalry every time we play them,” he said. “Ever since I was 16, there’s always been that intensity to the game.”