2019-2020 Season Kicks off Tonight against Wildcats
The road to the 2020 President's Cup starts with Game 1. For the Charlottetown Islanders, Game 1 takes place tonight, when they welcome their cross-Confederation Bridge rival Moncton Wildcats to the Eastlink Centre tonight at 7:30pm to kick off their 2019-2020 QMJHL regular season.
Always an exciting rivalry between the two teams, last season was no different. The Islanders held the advantage in the season series, winning six out of the eight matchups against the Wildcats last season, including three wins in the friendly confines of the Eastlink Centre. That trend extends back even five years, with the Islanders winning eleven out of sixteen matchups between the two teams in Charlottetown.
This season, the Wildcats will look to reverse the trend in what's being touted as an extremely strong Maritime Division. Heading in to the season, the Wildcats were being heralded for their team strength and depth, and were predicted by many to finish atop the division. They had acquired star goaltender Olivier Rodrigue from the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and also drafted Zachary L'Heureux with the third overall pick of the 2019 QMJHL Draft. On top of that, the team was returning high-scoring forwards Jeremy McKenna, Jakob Pelletier, and Mika Cyr, along with top defensemen Jordan Spence and captain Jonathan Aspirot.
Fast forward two months later, and the Wildcats have experienced a paradigm shift. McKenna signed an AHL contract with the Calgary Flames organization back in July, while Aspirot signed an AHL contract with the Ottawa Senators organization this week. Pelletier, drafted in the first round by the Flames in this past NHL draft, remains in Calgary at training camp, leaving just Cyr and Spence to lead the way for the Wildcats to open the season.
For Charlottetown, all players who earned pro opportunities this summer have returned to Charlottetown and will be in the building for tonight's game. Thomas Casey (Detroit) and Nikita Alexandrov (St. Louis) each returned from their respective training camps earlier this week, while Xavier Bernard (New Jersey) landed in Charlottetown last night.
Casey and Bernard will both be in the lineup tonight, but Alexandrov will not. Head coach Jim Hulton announced this week that the Blues prospect is still healing from a shoulder injury suffered at the Traverse City Prospect Tournament, and will not play this weekend.
Matthew Welsh is back between the pipes for the Islanders for his fifth and final season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The 20-year old is the franchise leader in all statistical goaltending categories, and will look to build on those numbers in his final pursuit for the President's Cup.
Don't miss a second of the exciting action tonight. Tickets can be purchased at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com.
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Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Stories from September 20, 2019
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- Sea Dogs Begin TD Station Era with 4-3 Win over Mooseheads - Saint John Sea Dogs
- 2019-2020 Season Kicks off Tonight against Wildcats - Charlottetown Islanders
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