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Islanders look to slow down high-scoring Tigres tonight

Maxime Comtois played at the Eastlink Centre earlier this season as part of Team QMJHL in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series.
Maxime Comtois, centre, played at the Eastlink Centre earlier this season as part of Team QMJHL in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series. - Jason Malloy

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Anyone wondering how good the Victoriaville Tigres are only has to look at Wednesday’s score for an indication.

The Tigres skated into Halifax and blasted the Maritime Division-leading Mooseheads 8-2 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) action.

The Charlottetown Islanders get the opportunity to try to slow down the Tigers today at 7 p.m. at the Eastlink Centre.

“If we play loose and sloppy and we’re not on our game defensively, it’ll get ugly,” Isles head coach Jim Hulton said Thursday. “They’re one of the top offensive teams in the league since the trade deadline.”

Victoriaville has lots of firepower and owns the league’s third-best power play.

Vitalii Abramov, acquired from Gatineau earlier this season, is second in league scoring with 35 goals and 52 assists for 87 points in 50 games. Teammates Maxime Comtois, who played for Canada at the world junior championship, has 68 points in 48 games while Russian right-winger Ivan Kosorenkov has 69 points in 56 games of his second season in the QMJHL.

The Tigres also has goalie Etienne Montpetit, acquired from Val-d’Or at the trade deadline, and owns the circuit’s third-best penalty kill.

Matthew Welsh gets the start in the crease for the home side with a healthy squad in front of him.

Victoriaville (35-20-4-2) has won four straight games and eight of its past 10 while Charlottetown (33-21-6-0) hasn’t lost in regulation in six games, going 4-0-2-0.

“It’s definitely an eye-opener,” Hulton said of Wednesday’s score in Halifax. “We knew going in how big of a game this is, given where they’re at, where we’re at and (the result is) a little bit extra incentive on top of it.”

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