Isles drop back-to-back games at home
The Isles dropped the second game of the weekend homestand 3-2 to the Acadie-Bathurst Titan after starting the season 2-0.
In just his second regular season game in the Q, Aksels Ozols was first star in the loss, stopping 29 of 32 shots in the game.
The Isles were on the man-advantage early as a minute and 30 seconds in, Bathurst took a tripping penalty.
After the penalty expired, the Isles continued to press, but Bathurst came back the other way and Matthew McRae scored his first of the season, beating Ozols in tight of the goal.
Half-way through the period, the Titan would double their lead as Jared Cosman shot it in between the faceoff circles, making it 2-0.
The Isles had a second chance on the powerplay, but Bathurst killed it off.
Charlottetown would have some sustained pressure to end the period but the Titan finished the period outshooting the Isles 10-8.
The first five minutes of the second period saw the Isles gain some momentum in the offensive zone, then kill off a penalty to keep the deficit at just two.
A scramble in front of the Titan net led to the puck just floating over Bathurst goalie Antoine Keller, but it ended up hitting the crossbar.
The Titan took the puck back the other way, but Ozols made a cross-crease pad save to halt the rush.
Soon after, P.E.I. native, Colby Huggan scored his first of the season, putting the Titan up 3-0.
Import draftee Ondrej Maruna responded though, scoring his first goal in the Q, getting the Isles on the board.
Tempers flared as the Titan defenceman, Cosman, knee’d rookie forward, Anthony Flanagan. Newly named associate captain, Lane Hinkley, stood up for the rookie and fought Cosman. Each player received a game misconduct and will receive suspensions.
Ozols would then stop a breakaway chance for the Titan.
Charlottetown went on a 5-on-3 powerplay in the final five minutes of the frame, and the captain buried his fourth goal in just as many games to bring it back to a one-goal-game.
The Isles went into the intermission with all of the momentum after capitalising on the powerplay. The shots after the second period were 23-18 in favour of the Titan.
Ozols started the third period strong, making a flashy glove save on a breakaway opportunity for the Titan.
Bathurst started to put pressure on the Islanders defence, but Flanagan blocked two shots in one shift and took a hit in the corner to keep the Titan from scoring.
That signalled a shift in momentum, sending the play back the other way. The first line of Horth, Morneau, and Huckins fought hard to keep the puck in the offensive end.
Ozols was pulled from the goal with just over a minute to go in regulation and the Isles had some great chances, but the Titan prevailed, winning 3-2.
Head Coach Jim Hulton is excited for the upcoming road trip through Bathurst and Québec.
“We get to spend more time together in different settings and I think you simplify your game on the road,” he said. “I think we got away from our structure defensively the last couple games and we have to learn from it. Nine goals in the last two games are not the numbers we want.”
Captain Michael Horth knows what they need to do better to get some wins heading on the road.
“We just need to be smarter, especially with the puck at both blue lines,” he said. “We have a lot of turnovers and a lot of odd man rushes and we have to fix that.”
The Isles return to the ice, Wednesday, October 4th at the K.C. Irving Regional Centre in Bathurst. Puck drop at 7:00 p.m.