SAINT JOHN, N.B. – The Charlottetown Islanders scored twice on the power play Thursday to defeat the Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3 at Harbour Station.
It is the second time in three games the Isles have tallied twice with the man advantage. The goals came against two of the worst three teams in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but it remains important for a club that has struggled most of the season with the extra attacker. It is now clicking at 15.3 per cent efficiency and sitting third from the bottom.
“It’s not going to get instantly great overnight, but at least we're getting some (positive) signs,” head coach Jim Hulton said Thursday. “It’s starting to get some looks and some confidence. We just have to continue to work on it, so it’s up and running come playoff time.”
Hunter Drew scored a power-play goal and set up two more goals as the Isles doubled the Sea Dogs Thursday. Captain Pierre-Olivier Joseph scored twice in the win.
“They were really good,” Hulton said. “Nikita (Alexandrov) had maybe one of the best games he’s had in our uniform.”
The centre had a goal, an assist and was +3, but the bench boss note there were a lot of contributions up and down the roster.
Daniel Hardie scored against his former team while Olivier Desjardins had the Islanders other marker. Derek Gentile had three assists while Hardie and Pascal Aquin each added one helper.
Cole Reginato had a goal and an assist for Saint John while Alexis Girard and Kevin Mason also scored.
Dakota Lund-Cornish made 28 saves for the win, and Matthew Williams stopped 33 shots in the loss.
“He was just steady and solid,” Hulton said of his rookie goalie. “It shows he’s progressing along at a good pace.”
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period with the Isles taking a 4-2 lead to the third.
The win came fewer than 24 hours after losing in overtime to division-leading Halifax. It is the third week in a row, where the Islanders have played one of the league’s elite squads followed by a team behind them in the standings. It can be tough for some teams to bring the same level of intensity and attention to detail on both nights.
“Tonight, after the first period in particular, I thought we took the game over,” Hulton said. “It shows that the group is learning.”
It was the Islanders fifth game in nine days, and they went 3-1-1-0 in that stretch, which included four road games.
Charlottetown improved to 32-21-5-0 while last-place Saint John falls to 13-34-9-2. The teams meet Sunday at 3 p.m. in Charlottetown in what will be Sea Dogs captain and Kelvin Grove native Bailey Webster’s final regular season game in P.E.I.
The Islanders are expecting to see goalie Alex D’Orio play on Sunday and anticipate defenceman Brendon Clavelle making his return to the lineup from a shoulder injury.
“We’ve got to get rested, load the tank back up and really put our stamp on it in the first period on Sunday,” Hulton said.