The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada will be the toughest test yet for the Charlottetown Islanders when their series opens up on Friday night.
It’s the first time ever that a P.E.I. team has made it to the third round of the QMJHL playoffs, brought to you by Roland Tours.
The Islanders went 8-0 in the first two rounds, sweeping the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and then the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
The Drakkar finished the regular season in 13th place while the Screaming Eagles finished 7th. The Armada finished right behind the Islanders in 5th place. They had just four less points than the Islanders through the 68 game regular season.
The Armada swept the Drummondville Voltigeurs in round one. In round two, the Acadie-Bathurst Titan had them on the roads with a 3-1 series lead. The Armada battled back and won game seven to move on.
Here’s a complete preview before the best of seven series opens on Friday in Charlottetown:
Season Series: The Islanders won both regular season meetings against the Armada. Both came in the span of 10 days near the end of the season.
In Blainville-Boisbriand on February 24, the Isles won 3-0 (goals from Alex Dostie, Kameron Kielly, Nicolas Meloche). On March 4 in Charlottetown, the Isles, again, won by a score of 3-0 (goals from Daniel Sprong (2), Francois Beauchemin). Mark Grametbauer was excellent in both games against the team that drafted him in 2014. He stopped all 34 shots in Blainville-Boisbriand and all 23 shots in Charlottetown.
Leading scorers: In the playoffs so far, the Armada have played 11 games to the Islanders 8.
Alex Barre-Boulet currently leads the Armada (and the league) in playoff points with 21. Pierre-Luc Dubois is second on the team with 14. Both players were acquired near the end of the trade period. Barre-Boulet had 33 points in 28 games after being traded to the Armada, while Dubois had 37 in 28.
Daniel Sprong and Filip Chlapik lead the Islanders. They each have 14 points in 8 games. Alex Dostie has 11 points.
Team stats: The Islanders have scored 38 goals in their 8 games, while the Armada have 43 in 11.
The Islanders have allowed the 2nd least goals in the playoffs at 15. The Armada have allowed 24 goals.
The Islanders power play is firing at 27% while the Armada has a 30% success rate.
On the penalty kill, the Islanders are 92.9% effective. The Armada’s PK has struggled with a 75.6% success rate.
So far in the playoffs, the Islanders have the most penalty minutes with 188 in just 8 games. The Armada have 126 minutes in 11 games.
Goaltenders: After Mark Grametbauer and Matthew Welsh split much of the second half, Grametbauer became the go to guy for the Islanders. He has started, and won, all 8 playoff games for the Islanders and is third in the league with a 1.86 GAA in the playoffs. He is second in the league with a 0.936 save percentage.
The Armada have 20-year-old Samuel Montembeault. He has played in 9 of BLB’s 11 playoff games and is 8-1. He currently leads the league in GAA (1.46) and save percentage (0.939).
The Armada also have a strong rookie goaltender in Francis Leclerc who has played over 124 minutes so far in the playoffs, and going 0-2. In the regular season, Leclerc played 30 games and went 15-8-2-2. Montembeault played in 41 regular season games and was 28-9-1.
Leclerc started in net on February 24 when the two teams met in Blainville-Boisbriand. He allowed 2 goals on 20 shots.
Montembeault started in Charlottetown on March 4 and allowed 3 goals on 28 shots. Montembeault should will be the Armada’s go to man in their third round series against the Islanders.
Lineup notes: The biggest lineup note to mention is the loss of Adam Marsh for games one and two. The Islanders forward was suspended for three games after a hit to the head in game three against the Screaming Eagles. Marsh consistently plays on the wing with Kameron Kielly and Filip Chlapik.
Puck drop on the Charlottetown Islanders first ever third round series opens on Friday at 7:00 pm. Get your tickets now as they are going fast. If you can’t make it, listen to the game on Ocean 100.
Written by Darcy Cudmore