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 Charlottetown Islanders

Isles Season Finishes with a 7-1 Loss to the Drakkar

April 3, 2024 - Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
Charlottetown Islanders News Release

Charlottetown, PE - The Charlottetown Islanders' season came to an end. The Baie-Comeau Drakkar have defeated the Islanders 7-1 in game four to advance to the second round of the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League playoffs.

Carter Bickle stopped 48 shots of the 55 that came his way, earning him second star of the night.

Despite going out in four games, head coach Jim Hulton has positive takeaways from this year's playoffs.

"In a strange way, this is one of the best learning experiences to play in a playoffs against a powerhouse, older, experienced team that quite frankly plays the game the right way," he said. "I liked to see the growth of watching young guys come in. When they're in these situations when they're 18 and 19 they'll remember what it's like."

Isles start strong, fall flat down 1-0 after 1

The Isles started the game strong, outshooting Baie-Comeau 7-3 in the first five minutes of the opening frame.

James Swan and Carl-Etienne Michel both had multiple chances turned aside by Drakkar netminder Charles-Édward Gravel.

Bickle was tested soon after. Shawn Person, Niks Fenenko and Raoul Boilard all tried to get shots through, but were denied.

Cole Huckins took the game's first penalty to send the Drakkar to the power play.

Justin Poirier was denied twice by Bickle before receiving a perfect one-time pass. His third chance of the power play put the Drakkar up 1-0 to end the first period.

Baie-Comeau was on top in the shot count 20-11.

2nd period offensive burst for the Drakkar

Ondrej Maruna and Félix Gagnon exchanged shots to open the second period before Baie-Comeau opened the scoring.

While on the power play from a Will Shields hooking penalty, Matyas Melovsky scored his fourth goal of the series. The power play marker doubled the Drakkar's lead to 2-0.

Just two minutes later, Isaac Dufort was penalised for hooking, and the Isles capitalised.

Huckins shot a feed from Marcus Kearsey into the back of the net while on the man advantage. Huckins' first goal of the playoffs brought the Islanders back within one. Alexis Michaud assisted on the goal as well.

Although in the end, the Isles couldn't come up with the win, Huckins looked at the bright side of things.

"I mean, I love these guys. I loved the way we battled. I think we can keep our heads held up high," he said. "It's something to take and learn from and move on."

Charlottetown continued their push to tie the game with some help from hits from Ross Campbell and Simon Hughes, while Kyle Powers tested Gravel with a slot shot but was denied.

But former Islander Justin Gill stopped the Isles in their tracks, tipping an Arsenault shot by Bickle, restoring their two goal lead.

The bleeding got worse for Charlottetown. Just 25 seconds later Justin Poirier ripped a shot between Bickle's shoulder and the crossbar to extend their lead to three goals.

Shot after shot came Bickle's way. He denied Boilard, Arsenault and Gill all within two minutes.

Tensions flared and multiple penalties were handed out. Dufort was sent to the box for a double-minor for roughing, while Huckins and Powers each received a roughing penalty and ten-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike conduct. Neither team ended up with a power play.

Just under two minutes later, Fenenko was called for interference, giving the Isles a man advantage.

The power play moved the puck well. Kearsey had a chance but was turned aside by Gravel.

Campbell threw another shot on net before Julien Paillé came back the other way but Bickle got the better of him.

Just a minute before the second intermission, Gill added his second of the night to give the Drakkar a 5-1 lead.

Isles run out of gas

With their backs against the wall more than ever, the Islanders came out in the third with everything they had left.

Morneau fired one on goal but was denied before Hughes would be shut down as well.

Charlottetown was called for too many men on the ice just moments later and Dufort capitalised, tipping his second of the series by Bickle.

Boilard would be called for holding and the Isles had one last chance on the power play. Despite the effort of Morneau's shot and the strong puck-movement, they couldn't get one through Gravel.

Dufort added one more goal before the final buzzer to send Baie-Comeau to the second round.

As the final buzzer sounded to close the door on the Islanders 2023-24 season, it closed the doors for 20-year-olds Giovanni Morneau, Cole Huckins and captain Michael Horth. But it opened the door for the great careers that lie ahead for the great leaders on and off the ice.

"It's always a difficult night for the 20s because it's the end of the road. Particularly for Michael (Horth) who is the last remaining link to a championship run team. For him to end on the sidelines with an injury was difficult to watch. That hit me emotionally to watch," Hulton said. "Cole (Huckins) and Gio (Morneau) are just honest guys who worked really hard for us. They were great people. I'm proudest of that."

Morneau sends one final message out to the fans of Charlottetown.

"I'm super grateful that they all took me with open arms here. They all treated me so well here and I had such a good time."

The entire Charlottetown Islanders organization would like to thank the Islanders' faithful who support the team on any given night for their dedication to the team. We look forward to training camp for the 2024-25 season.

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Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League Stories from April 3, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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