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By Nolan Reid
The P.E.I. Rocket scored twice in first and third periods in a 4-1 win over the Moncton Wildcats Friday night in front of a season-high 2,607 fans at the Charlottetown Civic Centre.
The win ups the Rocket's season record to 21-14-2-0. It is also the third win in four games this season against the Moncton Wildcats.
Tonight’s game was won with a huge team effort and one that extended beyond what the fans saw on the ice. Seven of our guys, from Montreal, were playing on less than 5hrs sleep. They were waiting for their flight itinerary past midnight last night, but flights could not be confirmed at that time. They were called at 5:30 this morning with instructions to be at the airport in less than a half hour. Three players were forced to fly to St. John, two to Moncton and two to Halifax. After spending the entire day in an airport, on an airplane or on the road, they arrived less than two hours before game time.
"We just come out to play whenever we play them," said Rocket forward Erik Robichaud. "We're just always ready for the game."
The team battled hard tonight despite some players being late getting back to Charlottetown, said Robichaud.
"We just really worked hard through it and I guess we out worked the other team. As a team we came together."
The Rocket was missing several players to its line up like Matej Beran and Tomas Pavelka to the World Juniors, Nathan Yetman and Alexis Pépin to World Under-17's and Matt Bursey to suspension.
Added to the lineup were Carl Chenier (call-up) and recently acquired Craig MacLauchlan and Anthony Cortese.
The players adapted well to missing several key guys out of the lineup, said Robichaud.
"Some guys have to step up and play more minutes…as a team we just played well together and came together to get the victory."
Cortese, who was acquired from Gatineau on Saturday, said he had a lot of fun in his first game as a Rocket.
"It was a good crowd, good energy on the ice and we got the win so it's good."
The Rocket opened the scoring just 2:28 into the first period with Louick Marcotte's 14th goal of the season. Alexandre Chenier-Allard drew the lone assist. The Rocket took a 2-0 lead with a power play goal from Josh Currie at 16:00. The goal was Currie's 32nd of the season. Ben Duffy and Jimmy Oligny drew the assists.
Allain Saulnier had the lone goal in the second period to bring the Wildcats to within a goal at 3:17.
In the third period, Jack Nevins put the Rocket up 3-1 at 14:46 with his third goal of the season. Robichaud and Cortese picked up assists. Ben Duffy finished off the scoring scoring an empty net goal with 11 seconds left in the frame.
Antoine Bibeau was solid in net for the Rocket stopping 31 shots.
Alex Dubeau took the loss for Moncton stopping 17 shots.
The Rocket travels to Acadie-Bathurst to battle the Titan Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Rocket returns home Thursday Jan. 3 against the Titan.
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