After back-to-back victories in major midget series vs. Kensington
CHARLOTTETOWN – What a difference two games can make!
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Alex Hambly, white jersey, of the Charlottetown Mark’s Work Wearhouse Islanders lets go a slapshot while Dillon Wall of the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild looks to line up a body check during Game 3 of the best-of-seven P.E.I. major midget hockey championship series.
The Charlottetown Mark’s Work Wearhouse Islanders lost the first two games in the best-of-seven P.E.I. major midget hockey championship series to the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild by scores of 9-2 and 7-4. However, the Islanders bounced back with 6-3 and 3-1 wins in Games 3 and 4 to even the series.
“Our team didn’t really know what to expect in the playoffs,” said Islanders head coach Jeff MacDonald. “The first couple of games were really a feeling-out process, and we had a lot of players who were a little nervous, anxious and up tight.
“But the more the series goes on, the more comfortable everybody gets. We are pleased with where we are at now, tied at two, especially with the way the series started for us.
“There is a lot more sense of belief in our dressing room now than going into it (series). It’s not that we didn’t believe before, it’s that no one knew what to expect.”
The Islanders will look to make it three straight wins in Game 5 at Community Gardens in Kensington on Monday night. The puck will drop at 7:30 p.m.
“You are going to see two desperate teams playing,” said MacDonald. “When we went into Game 3 we were the desperate team.
“We were the one who couldn’t go down 3-0, and now you are going to see two teams who have that critical best-of-three mindset. I think you will see some really good hockey Monday night.”
Nothing to lose
Charlottetown, which finished 16 points behind the Wild in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League regular-season standings, went into the provincial championship with a nothing-to-lose attitude.
“You are going to see two desperate teams playing. When we went into Game 3 we were the desperate team. We were the one who couldn’t go down 3-0, and now you are going to see two teams who have that critical best-of-three mindset. I think you will see some really good hockey Monday night.” Charlottetown Islanders head coach Jeff MacDonald
“We were the underdogs going into the series,” said MacDonald. “We finished last in our league, and definitely had our struggles.
“That’s what happens when you have a young team like we do. You have to learn to grow together. . . you have to learn how to overcome and our team has proven, what better time to improve than in the playoffs.”
A big story of the last two games has been the play of Islanders goaltender Sam Walsh, who has stopped 90 of 94 shots.
“Sam has been phenomenal the last two games,” said MacDonald. “He (Walsh) struggled in Game 1, but he really bounced back and showed the character Sam has.
“We have all kinds of confidence in Sammy right now. He’s seeing the puck well, his rebound control has been good and he’s been giving us a chance to win every night, which is all you can ask for.”
Another key for the Islanders, MacDonald went on to say, has been discipline.
“We have been a little more disciplined than we have been throughout the season,” continued the head coach. “That is important, and we are staying away from the stuff after the whistle.
“The overall work ethic and attitude has changed with our team. The key for us will be continue to build on some of the good things that we did in Game 3 and Game 4.”