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Desruisseaux the Hero as Isles Nab Two Points in OT over Moose

February 4, 2020 - Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) - Charlottetown Islanders News Release

It might not have been how they drew it up, but the Charlottetown Islanders are back in the win column.

The Islanders met a hot Alexis Gravel who once again came up big for the Halifax Mooseheads, making 38 saves; however, it wasn't enough. Cedric Desruisseaux score the game-winning goal just seconds in to the extra frame as the Islanders defeated the Mooseheads 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday night.

"It took extra time, but we finally capitalized on a quality scoring chance," said Islanders head coach Jim Hulton on the victory. Our scoring struggles continue as we had numerous Grade A chances but couldn't finish, especially in the second period."

While he's only defeated Charlottetown twice this season, Gravel appears to almost have their number; in five games this season the Chicago Blackhawks prospect has posted a .924 save percentage against the Isles. He was sharp again tonight, but his counterpart at the other end of the rink came up big when his team needed him the most; Matthew Welsh came up with 26 saves to give his team the victory, including 13 big saves in the final frame.

"We sagged in the third period, but Welsh stood tall and saved the day." said Hulton regarding his veteran netminder. "It was an important two points for our team."

Brett Budgell got the Islanders on the board in the first period with a highlight reel goal. The Newfoundlander received a long pass from Chris McQuaid before dancing around both a Mooseheads defender and Gravel before tucking home his 18th goal of the season, giving the Isles a 1-0 lead that stood until the second period.

Neither team was able to stay out of the penalty box for long stretches of the game and unfortunately for Charlottetown, it finally reared it's head. Senna Peeters would tip in a D'Artagnan Joly pass in tight on the powerplay to give the Belgian forward his 17th goal on the season and fifth in three games.

The Mooseheads would push back in the third period and take their first lead of the game. Zack Jones would find a bouncing puck immediately off a faceoff in front of Welsh, outwork Gaetan Jobin, and put a puck on net that beats the the goaltender. As quickly as the play had started, the Mooseheads had a one-goal lead.

Charlottetown's offense would come to life and a veteran forward got a much-needed goal. Thomas Casey found a puck along the boards and walked out in to the slot before turning and firing the puck over Gravel's shoulder. For Casey, the goal would be his nineteenth on the year and snap a six-game goal-less drought.

The two teams would push hard but the men between the pipes would make duelling big saves. Welsh and Gravel brought the Scotiabank Centre crowd to their feet with amazing athleticism, including Gravel making a Save of the Year-candidate robbery on Noah Laaouan in the dying moments of the third to send the game to overtime.

Fortunately for Charlottetown, the extra period wouldn't last long. Nikita Alexandrov would find a streaking Desruisseaux with a pass, who'd blow by the Mooseheads defender. Desruisseaux's initial shot would be stopped but the diminutive forward picked up his own rebound and swatted in out of midair just fifteen seconds in to the final frame to give the Islanders the extra point.

Alexandrov, Welsh, McQuaid, and Noah Laaouan would wind up with the assists in the game. For McQuaid, the assist is his first goal as an Islander.

The Islanders return home now and prepare for a Friday night showdown with the visiting Victoriaville Tigres. Tickets are available at the Eastlink Centre box office, by phone at 902-629-6625, or online. Don't forget that it's an Olde Dublin Pub Happy Hour game! Beverages in the Moose Light Lounge are just $3.50 from 6:30-7:30, Carter MacLellan will be playing tunes, and the Olde Dublin Pub will be dropping off free finger foods!

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