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Forecheck key for Islanders tonight

Chicoutimi Sagueneens' Vincent Milot-Ouellet battles for control of the puck against Charlottetown Islanders defensemen Taylor Egan and Olivier Desjardins during third period action Saturday at the Eastlink Centre.
Chicoutimi Sagueneens' Vincent Milot-Ouellet battles for control of the puck against Charlottetown Islanders defensemen Taylor Egan and Olivier Desjardins during third period action Saturday at the Eastlink Centre. - The Guardian

Charlottetown in Gatineau to play Olympiques in first contest of three-game road trip

GATINEAU, QUE. – The Charlottetown Islanders begin their longest road trip of the season tonight in Gatineau, Que.

Game time for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League contest with the Olympiques (27-20-3-3) is 8:30 p.m. Atlantic.

“If we can establish the forecheck early, we give ourselves a chance to have pretty good success,” Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said. “Usually when our forecheck is on, the rest of our game is on.”

The team had a skate on Tuesday and Hulton was pleased with the jump the team had after travelling to Quebec.

“I think there’s a lot of incentive coming in here,” he said Tuesday night. “We have a lot of semi-local kids, so I think there’s going to be a lot of family and friends (here) tomorrow night.”

The team hasn’t been as consistent in 2018 as it was during the first half of the season, but it turned into two solid games last week and is looking to build on that momentum.

Matthew Welsh starts in the Islanders crease tonight, while backup Dakota Lund-Cornish is expected to start one of the next two road games. Defenceman Brendon Clavelle is on the trip, but is not expected to play this week as he gets closer to returning from a shoulder injury.

Former Islanders forward Shawn Boudrias leads Gatineau with 44 points (17 goals and 27 assists) in 47 games this season. Defenceman Chris McQuaid, a Charlottetown native and former Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild player, has five assists in 19 games since being acquired during the Christmas trade period from Rouyn-Noranda.

The Islanders (29-20-4-0) continue the road trip Friday in Rouyn-Noranda against the Huskies (31-15-5-3) and Saturday against the Val-d’Or Foreurs (18-31-2-2) at 8 p.m. Charlottetown is 13-11-2-0 on the road this season.

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