Two rival Maritime islands collide tonight as the Charlottetown Islanders visit Centre 200 to take on the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
It’s the first meeting of 2017-18 between these divisional foes and it marks a rematch from last year’s playoffs. The Islanders took the post-season matchup (the first ever between the two teams) in four games, after the Screaming Eagles had won six of nine contests in the regular season. But it’s a much different looking Charlottetown team that will be coming to Sydney on Wednesday night.
Charlottetown brings over a team with 11 newcomers, seven of them whom are rookies at the major junior level. But it is familiar names that are most key to any success the Islanders will have. Pierre-Olivier Joseph, a first round draft of the Arizona Coyotes, leads the Islanders and the 18 year old blueliner was named captain in the off-season. Import defenseman Saku Vesterinen is off to a strong start averaging a point a game, while overage forward Adam Marsh leads the attack up front.
The Islanders are hoping their offense has awoken after a 6-5 overtime loss against Quebec on Saturday. Prior to that game, the Isles were averaging just a single goal a game. Scoring early has been key for Charlottetown as they are 1-0-1 when scoring first, and 0-5 when allowing the first goal. They have a record of 1-2 on the road.
Cape Breton is also hoping the offense has been jump started having scored four goals Sunday in Drummondville. The Eagles lost that game 5-4 to conclude a four game home road trip, and will be happy to return home where the club has played just two games in the early part of the season. Marc-André Dumont’s club has a record of 4-4 on the season, splitting their two home games.
Drake Batherson has scored in five consecutive games for the Screaming Eagles, and his linemate Egor Sokolov is also producing, coming off of the first two goal game of his young QMJHL career. While different players have had chances playing with Batherson & Sokolov, their most frequent partner on that trio, Mathias Laferrière, is coming off a three point game in Drummondville. There has also been production from the point as defensemen Leon Gawanke and Adam McCormick had combined for seven points through the last three games.
Wednesday night’s game goes at 7 PM. Go Eagles Go!