The second round of the QMJHL playoffs, brought to you by Roland Tours, kicked off on Thursday night at the Eastlink Centre.
The Islanders scored three times in the third period to take the series opener against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
Filip Chlapik led the way with one goal and two assists.
Daniel Sprong, Kameron Kielly and Carl Neill had the other Islanders goals.
Neill’s insurance goal for the Islanders was a shot from the point that hit off the back glass, then off the Screaming Eagles goalie and in.
It wasn’t something he planned, Neill admitted after the game.
“I was just trying to put it on net but it took a weird bounce and hit the goalie and went in. I’ll take them how I can them I guess,” said Neill.
The Islanders led the shots after the first period, 21-6. In the second period, they outshot the Eagles 12-5. Final shots on goal were 42-21 Charlottetown.
Mark Grametbauer picked up the win in goal for the Islanders and is now 5-0 in the playoffs. He hasn’t allowed more than two goals in any of the five games.
The Islanders hadn’t played in over a week after sweeping their first-round series against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. On Thursday, it took some time for the team to get their legs going, said Neill.
“The first 10 minutes they were all over us and Mark (Grametbauer) kept us in the game. We were lucky enough to turn it around and the legs started to come around so that felt good.”
Even with the slow start, the Islanders did put the puck past the Screaming Eagles goalie Kevin Mandolese twice, but both goals were disallowed.
The goals being called back made the team want to score even more, said Neill.
“Plays like that happen. Weird goals and weird things go on during a hockey game. We were lucky enough to have the character to come back. They scored the first goal and we battled back so that was a good feeling.”
A big hit by Dillon Boucher late in the first period also seemed to give the Islanders a spark.
The Islanders started the series on home ice in front of a large, loud crowd of 3,000 people. The energy gave the team a boost the entire night, said Neill.
“It’s great to have the fans behind us and they gave us a boost when we needed it. When our legs weren’t there our fans were there to keep us going so hopefully more of the same on Saturday.”
The Islanders and Screaming Eagles are back at it on Saturday night at 7:30 at the Eastlink Centre.
Cape Breton is a strong team with a strong work ethic. The Islanders are ready for a hard-fought series, said Neill.
“They’re a consistent team and they work hard every shift. They are an in your face hockey team so for us, we need to stay consistent and push back like we did tonight and things will go well.”
Written by Darcy Cudmore