The Charlottetown Islanders have weathered the storm.
They went 4-1 to start the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season with all five games coming on the road as the Eastlink Centre was prepared for the hockey season after serving as a COVID-19 clinic.
Tonight, they play their first home game of the season when they host the Saint John Sea Dogs at 7 p.m.
“We’re really excited,” overage winger Cédric Desruisseaux said. “It’s going to be nice to be in our own building with our fans.”
Due to social distancing restrictions, the team is only permitted to have 970 fans per game at the Eastlink Centre this season. Normally, the team has about 1,540 season ticket holders and it has already sold all the tickets it is allowed to sell under the restrictions, meaning there will be no walk-up tickets available.
Tonight’s game will be shown at The Factory Downtown, Boston Pizza and the Brackley Drive-In.
Charlottetown defeated the Sea Dogs, expected to be one of the league’s top teams this year, 6-5 on Oct. 3. The Isles jumped out to a 4-0 lead only to see it evaporate following some undisciplined play.
“They have really good players. We can’t take anything for granted,” said Desruisseaux, who tallied the winner late in the third period. “We learned from the last game against them.”
Veteran Colten Ellis gets his first start on home ice tonight for the Islanders. He is 4-0 with a 2.25 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage.
Forward Brendan McCarthy is questionable with a cold.
The Islanders and other teams around the Canadian Hockey League are awaiting word from the federal government about their two import players being allowed into the country to join the team.
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