CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Keith Getson summed it up best.
“We haven’t done anything easy all season, why should we start now?” he told Charlottetown Islanders head coach Jim Hulton with a smile after a 3-2 overtime win.
Tuesday’s victory over the top-ranked Blainville-Boisbriand Armada came after the Isles lost the lead with 55 seconds left in regulation. Drake Batherson hammered a one-timer, off a Pascal Corbeil feed, past Matthew Welsh with the Armada net empty for the extra attacker to force overtime and suck the energy out of the Eastlink Centre.
Brett Budgell gave the home crowd something to celebrate when he scored 1:14 into overtime to keep the Islanders in the best-of-seven Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal. The Armada leads the series 2-1 heading into tonight’s Game 4 at the Eastlink Centre at 7 p.m.
“Nikita (Alexandrov) made a really heads-up play,” Budgell explained. “He made a backhanded saucer pass right on my tape and, fortunately, I could bury the breakaway.”
The 16-year-old didn’t think long when asked where the goal stands in his career.
“It’s got to be No. 1,” he said.
Armada head coach Joel Bouchard said it was a disappointing goal to give up in overtime.
“A breakdown that we . . . don't do,” he said, but “this is the playoffs, you’re going to have to reset.”
While it was two rookies who connected on the game-winning goal, it was the veteran line of Getson-Pascal Aquin-Daniel Hardie who got the team going with the first shift in overtime. The line didn’t register a shot, but created a few chances and Hulton said it energized the building.
“It’s probably not a night that we could afford to go deep into an overtime,” he explained. “It was essential that we create momentum in the building and capitalize on it and it happened a lot quicker than we probably anticipated.”
Welsh said he wasn’t surprised the team bounced back after giving up the lead late in regulation.
“This team has a lot of great character,” he said. “There’s been so many comeback wins . . . That’s definitely a typical Islander win.”
Derek Gentile scored 4:10 into the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Charlottetown native Thomas Casey and Taylor Egan had assists on Gentile’s sixth of the post-season. The goal came moments after Getson was stopped on a partial breakaway after blocking a shot in his own zone.
Sullivan Sparkes gave the Islanders their first lead of the series 11:26 into the first period as he went forehand, backhand, forehand to beat Armada goalie Emile Samson.
“I hadn’t scored in a while,” Sparkes said. “It was huge to get off on the right foot. We wanted to come out and have the lead for once (in the series).”
Remy Anglehart tied it by capitalizing on his own rebound with 4:30 left in the second period. Welsh made 37 saves for the win while Samson stopped 27 shots in the loss.
Bouchard switched his lines during the game, noting he wasn’t happy with some of his players’ games and the team was inconsistent.
There was a near sellout crowd of 3,456 people at the game.
“The fans have been great all playoffs,” Islanders forward Cam Askew said. “It’s so loud in there. We feed off that. I don't think they realize how much of a different it does make. We get so excited to play in front of them.”
A look at Tuesday’s Charlottetown Islanders, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Quebec Major Junior Hockey League semifinal.
Armada – 2
Islanders – 3 OT
Armada – Remy Anglehart and Drake Batherson.
Islanders – Sullivan Sparkes, Derek Gentile and Brett Budgell.
Armada – Thomas Ethier and Pascal Corbeil.
Islanders – Daniel Hardie, Derek Gentile, Thomas Casey, Taylor Egan and Nikita Alexandrov.
Armada – Emile Samson, 27 saves on 29 shots.
Islanders – Matthew Welsh, 37 saves on 39 shots.
Armada – 0-for-2.
Islanders – 0-for-1.
Armada – 32.
Islanders – 34.
Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said: “It’s been a different guy that wore the hero’s cape almost on a nightly basis, so this isn’t a surprise.