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Charlottetown Islanders put 15-game win streak on the line tonight against Halifax Mooseheads

Charlottetown Islanders winger Keiran Gallant, left, looks to play the puck behind the Halifax Mooesheads net while Stephen Davis defends Sunday during Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action in Charlottetown.
Charlottetown Islanders winger Keiran Gallant, left, looks to play the puck behind the Halifax Mooesheads net while Stephen Davis defends Sunday during Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action in Charlottetown. - Jason Malloy
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

The Charlottetown Islanders are putting a win streak together that may stand for some time.

The Isles have won 15 straight Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) regular season games, which is nearly equivalent to a quarter of a normal 68-game campaign. The franchise’s previous longest streak was 10 games during the 2003-04 season when it was the P.E.I. Rocket.

“Just being able to maintain the day-to-day focus has been the part that has impressed me,” Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said before Tuesday’s practice.

“It’d be very easy to kind of mentally fade, especially given the fact we’re playing the same two teams over and over again. But our leadership core has done a wonderful job in that room. They have really bought into the day-to-day focus and mantra.”

Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Braeden Virtue carries the puck around the Halifax Mooseheads net while being pursued by Mooseheads centre Elliot Desnoyers during the first period of Sunday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.  - Jason Malloy • The Guardian
Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Braeden Virtue carries the puck around the Halifax Mooseheads net while being pursued by Mooseheads centre Elliot Desnoyers during the first period of Sunday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown. - Jason Malloy • The Guardian

The Islanders haven’t lost since dropping a 5-4 decision to the Cape Breton Eagles on Feb. 6. Eight of the 15 wins have come against the Halifax Mooseheads with the other seven against the Eagles as the Islanders are currently only permitted to play against their Nova Scotia counterparts due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Top-level talent

Hulton has heard the rumblings about the legitimacy of streaks and records this season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While Halifax and Cape Breton are younger teams, they have some top-level talent and good teams regularly lose to those beneath them in the standings because games aren’t played on paper.

“These teams are in this league for a reason. These kids are all the same age. They compete hard, they have pride, they’re well-coached, they have video, they make adjustments, so to win 15 in a row – even if you’re playing the same teams – is never an easy feat,” Hulton said. “I think some people do our players a disservice when they try to downplay it because of COVID.”

During the streak, the Islanders have battled back from trailing 4-0 in Halifax to win and were victorious in their last two home dates that were decided in overtime and a shootout, respectively.

“That really adds to the battle test come playoffs because you've been in different scenarios and you’re comfortable,” Hulton said.


Breakdown

Here’s a look at the number of games the Charlottetown Islanders have played against their Maritime Division counterparts this season. Games with the New Brunswick teams have not been permitted since November due to COVID-19.

Team                              Games

Halifax Mooseheads         15

Cape Breton Eagles         13

Moncton Wildcats               3

Saint John Sea Dogs          2

Acadie-Bathurst Titan         1


Charlottetown (30-4-0-0) hosts Halifax (14-16-5-4) today at 7 p.m. The Isles have gone 13-2-0-0 against the Herd this season, including Sunday’s shootout victory.

The Isles dressed eight defencemen on Sunday with Ryan Maynard and Braeden Virtue playing wing on the fourth line with Keiran Gallant.

Patrick LeBlanc - Contributed
Patrick LeBlanc - Contributed

Patrick LeBlanc hasn’t played since March 17 when he sustained a knee injury. He is a game-day decision for tonight’s contest. Winger Thomas Casey has missed the past two games with a cold but returned to practice on Monday. Oscar Plandowski is day-to-day with a cold.

Goalie Jacob Goobie gets the start tonight.

League news

Lukas Cormier was named to the Videotron team of the week, the QMJHL announced on Monday. The Islanders defenceman had four assists in two games, scored the shootout winner on Sunday and was a plus-4. He was joined on the team by Saint John Sea Dogs defenceman Jeremie Poirier and Val-d’Or Foreurs goalie Jonathan Lemieux, while the forwards were Brady Burns (Saint John), Jacob Mathieu (Rimouski Oceanic) and Zachary L’Heureux (Halifax).

Jason Malloy is The Guardian's sports editor. He can be reached by email at [email protected] and followed on Twitter at @SportsGuardian.

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