Isles Win on Hockey Fights Cancer Night 4-3 Over the Saint John Sea Dogs

December 8, 2023 - Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) - Charlottetown Islanders News Release

The Islanders take home a win on Hockey Fights Cancer night, taking down the Saint John Sea Dogs 4-3.

Aksels Ozols was awarded first star in the win in his final game before leaving to go to the World Junior Hockey Championships in Sweden.

"It means everything to me that I can represent my home country on a world level. Nothing gets better than that," Ozols said.

After the puck was dropped, the Isles were hemmed in their own zone early.

Once they broke the puck out, they moved it around in the Sea Dogs' defensive end, then turned it back over.

Vince Elie outskated the Isles defenders to get the shot on Ozols. He made the save but the rebound popped out to Darien Reynolds who pocketed his first goal in the QMJHL in his first game.

Not long after, Lucas Romeo was sent to the penalty box as he was called for elbowing, but Saint John couldn't convert while a man up.

Play started to get physical. Marcus Kearsey and Saint John forward Jacob Beaulieu each went to the box for roughing.

Then, the Isles took a bench minor penalty for too many men on the ice to send the Sea Dogs to a 4-on-3 power play. The penalty kill stayed strong though for Charlottetown, starting 2/2.

Eventually, the Isles broke through. Kyle Powers squeaked the puck through Saint John goaltender Justin Robinson. His second goal of the season was his second in just as many days and it tied the game at one.

"I simplified my game," he said. "I got to the net, got to the dirty areas and it's working for me right now so I'm going to keep that up."

The score would stay knotted up at one going into the first intermission despite Saint John leading in shots 15-7.

The Sea Dogs struck early to open the second period. Luka Benoit just got a puck through Ozols to restore Saint John's lead.

Then, the Isles went on the power play.

It was Michael Horth who broke through on the man advantage with his 22nd of the season to tie the game back up. He parked beside Robinson and Giovanni Morneau fed him a pass. He shot it in and out of the net. Kearsey assisted as well.

The Isles were awarded another power play half-way through the second period but they couldn't convert.

Though, their man advantage gave them momentum.

Alexis Michaud got a hold of the puck in the faceoff circle in front of Robinson. He fed it out to Matthew Butler who buried his third goal of the season five-hole to give the Isles their first lead of the game.

They would take their lead into the third period. This time, Charlottetown kicked off the action.

Ross Campbell toe-dragged around the Sea Dogs' defender and shot it on goal while falling. The shot beat Robinson and Campbell scored his sixth goal of the year to double the Isles lead to 4-2. Horth added his second point of the night with an assist and Carl-Ettienne Michel assisted as well.

Saint John started to fight back. Ozols made save after save to keep the two-goal lead. Eventually, a bad bounce led to the puck finding its way into the back of Charlottetown's net to bring them back within one.

But Ozols kept the door shut as time ran out and the Isles pulled away with their second win in just as many nights.

Head coach Jim Hulton knows it meant more to get the two points in the standings on Hockey Fights Cancer night.

"The jersey means something different to every individual because we all have our own journeys with cancer," he said. "We talked about playing for a little bit extra. It's not just a normal game tonight, we're all playing for someone we're honouring."

The Islanders get a long-awaited break as they hit the ice next in a week as they take on the Cape Breton Eagles at home. Puck drop next Friday, Dec. 15 is at 7:30 p.m.

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