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Maynard scores first QMJHL goal to help Charlottetown Islanders win home opener

Charlottetown Islanders' defenceman Ryan Maynard with the puck from his first career goal in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Friday after the home opener at the Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders' defenceman Ryan Maynard with the puck from his first career goal in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Friday after the home opener at the Eastlink Centre. - Jason Malloy
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Ryan Maynard recorded his first goal and assist in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Friday while helping the Charlottetown Islanders win their home opener 5-1 over the Saint John Sea Dogs at the Eastlink Centre.

“It’s good to get it under the belt and get the monkey off the back,” said the 18-year-old defenceman from Cochrane, Ont.

The Islanders led 1-0 after the first period on Covehead native Keiran Gallant’s goal. Three minutes into the second, Maynard passed the puck to Gallant, who tipped it ahead, creating a two-on-one.

“I made an early pass over to Drew (Elliott) and Drew buried it,” Maynard explained.

Two minutes later, Zac Beauregard, coming around the back of the Sea Dogs’ net, found Maynard creeping in from the blue-line and he wired the puck past Noah Patenaude.

It was a good first impression for Maynard playing in front of the local fans.

“This kid has no idea how good he could be,” Islanders’ head coach Jim Hulton said. “It’s great to see that his confidence gets a boost tonight offensively. I thought he played a terrific game all-around, so we’re really, really happy for him.”

The bench boss characterized the victory as a good win, but not a great one.

“I wasn’t that happy with our game,” he said. “I guess we’re raising the bar already.”

He thought some of the team’s secondary players were good while some of its top-end guys were average. He said goalie Colten Ellis held them in the game at times and the team’s discipline was horrible – again.

“I guess it’s a good sign when you can win on your B night.”

The team led 4-0 after two periods. The last time the teams played on Oct. 3, Charlottetown held a similar lead only to see it evaporate before managing to pull out the 6-5 victory on the road.

On Friday, the Sea Dogs had more energy in the third period, breaking Ellis’ shutout bid two minutes in and outshot the home side 11-1 at one point of the final frame.

While the Islanders bent, they didn't break.

“We just had to pull through,” Maynard said. “We just had to find ways to get pucks deep and outwork them. Honestly, that’s what it takes against skill teams.”

Ellis also turned in a few key saves when his team was back on its heels.

“No. 1, it’s not our fault we have a great goalie, but No. 2, boy he sure masks a lot of errors in the early going of the season,” said Hulton, making the comparison to Matthew Welsh from previous seasons. “That’s what good, veteran goaltenders do – they allow your team to grow because they don't give up the easy ones and they settle things down.”

The game was a sellout – 970 fans, all that is allowed by the Chief Public Health Office due to the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic.

Various restrictions were in place, but by all accounts, things went smoothly.

“What we’ve tried to do throughout this whole process is just embrace the fact that we’re playing and accept that everything in our world has changed, including the attendance in the building,” Hulton said. “But when I look at it, we’re one of six (Canadian Hockey League) teams out 60 across the country that are playing. All we’re doing is being optimistic and thankful that we’re here on home ice.”

The Islanders (5-1-0-0) host the Moncton Wildcats (1-3-0-0) Saturday at 7 p.m. before another sellout. Jacob Goobie gets the start in the Islanders’ crease.


Highlight reel

A look at Friday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game between the Charlottetown Islanders and the Saint John Sea Dogs.

Outcome

Charlottetown – 5

Saint John – 1

Goals

Charlottetown – Keiran Gallant, Drew Elliot, Ryan Maynard, Cédric Desruisseaux (shorthanded) and Sam Oliver (power play).

Saint John – Peter Reynolds.

Assists

Charlottetown – Will Trudeau (2), Felix Tremblay, Ryan Maynard, Keiran Gallant, Zac Beauregard, Thomas Casey and Patrick LeBlanc.

Saint John – Nathan Drapeau and Dawson Stairs.

Goalies

Charlottetown – Colten Ellis, 24 saves on 25 shots.

Saint John – Noah Patenaude, 30 saves on 35 shots.

Power plays

Charlottetown – 1-for-3.

Saint John – 0-for-7.

Records

Charlottetown – 5-1-0-0.

Saint John – 1-2-1-1.

Three stars

1. Ryan Maynard, Charlottetown

2. Keiran Gallant, Charlottetown

3. Colten Ellis, Charlottetown

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