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Islanders drop 3-2 decision to Halifax after tough start to third period

Charlottetown Islanders centre Keith Getson tries to tip an Alexander Dersch shot past Halifax Mooseheads goalie Alexis Gravel as teammate Justin Barron defends Saturday at the Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders centre Keith Getson tries to tip an Alexander Dersch shot past Halifax Mooseheads goalie Alexis Gravel as teammate Justin Barron defends Saturday at the Eastlink Centre. - Jason Malloy

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – The Halifax Mooseheads scored two goals in the first minute and six seconds of the third period to defeat the Charlottetown Islanders 3-2 Saturday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the Eastlink Centre.

"They seized the bounces there off the start of the third, but in a very ironic way I thought we played much, much better tonight,” Isles head coach Jim Hulton said. “I like a lot about our game other than just the end result.”

Islanders rookie defenceman Lukas Cormier opened the scoring 3:24 into the second with a wrist shot through traffic off a faceoff win by Derek Gentile.

"It’s sure nice to get the first one out of the way,” he said. “It was a nice faceoff win by Gents and I just shot the puck on the net.”

Patrick Kyte tied it at 11:29 and the teams went to the third tied 1-1.

Raphael Lavoie banked a passed from behind the net in off skates to give Halifax the lead 13 seconds into the third and Samuel Asselin tallied a power-play marker 53 seconds later after a shot hit the back boards and bounced to him at the side of the net.

Thomas Casey converted a Kevin Gursoy pass to cut the deficit to one at 11:12, but the Islanders wouldn’t get any closer. It was Gursoy's first regular season game as an Islander after not dressing for Friday's opener.

"He showed soft skill in tight areas and I thought his compete level was really good tonight,” Hulton said. “It’s never easy to scratch a 19-year-old, but I thought he responded like a pro.”

Marcel Barinka, Arnaud Durandeau, Kyte, Justin Barron and Jordan Maher had the Halifax assists.

Alexis Gravel made 30 saves for the victory while Dakota Lund-Cornish stopped 19 shots in the loss.

Hulton said he saw more flashes Saturday of the team he expects Charlottetown to be, but noted the timing is just a bit off, particular with the Nikita Alexandrov-Brett Budgell-Gentile line.

“We had a lot more moments tonight of the image we want to portray and the identity we want to see,” he said. "We had a lot of good looks and Gravel was really good today.”

Halifax improved to 2-0-0-0 while Charlottetown is 1-1-0-0. Halifax played the game without Antoine Morand, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Jared MacIsaac, Jocktan Chainey while Charlottetown was without Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Hunter Drew. All were away at NHL camps.

The Islanders host the Saint John Sea Dogs Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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