Two rivals from the QMJHL’s Maritimes Division in the Charlottetown Islanders (39-20-4-3) and Halifax Mooseheads (48-15-2-1) will close out their regular-season schedules when they face off in this week’s edition of the Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase at 3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT on Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE.
Entering Friday, the Mooseheads, who have clinched the Maritimes Division title to qualify for the playoffs for the third consecutive year, are coming off a 5-3 win against the Moncton Wildcats. The game saw centre Benoit-Olivier Groulx, a second-round selection by the Anaheim Ducks in last year’s NHL Draft, lead the way with a three-point effort, including two goals in the third period to cap the win for Halifax. Between the pipes, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alexis Gravel turned aside 26 shots as he picked up his 33rd win on the season, the third highest in the QMJHL.
The Mooseheads have found the win column in 11 of their past 14 appearances. Part of that stretch included a nine-game streak by right-wing Raphael Lavoie in which he recorded eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points. The 18-year-old, who has been sidelined for the past two games with an upper-body injury, ranks 13th among North American skaters ahead of the 2019 NHL Draft, per Central Scouting’s midterm report.
Meanwhile, the Islanders are riding a five-game win streak, including Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime decision against the defending Memorial Cup champion Acadie-Bathurst Titan in which left-wing Daniel Hardie, who leads the team with 76 points in 66 games, and defenceman Hunter Drew, another Ducks’ prospect, each picked up two points. The string of victories also helped Charlottetown clinch its seventh-straight playoff appearance and 13th in the past 14 seasons.
Saturday marks the ninth match between the two sides this year, with Halifax carrying a commanding 6-1-1-0 lead in the season series. The last meetup was in mid-February when the Mooseheads came away with a 3-0 victory as Lavoie scored the game’s first two goals before defenceman Jared McIsaac, a second-round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2018 NHL Draft, sealed the win with an empty netter. Gravel also stopped 24 shots to notch his third shutout.
Catch all of the action in the latest match between the Islanders and Mooseheads when the two sides square off Saturday on Sportsnet and Sportsnet ONE and on the NHL Network in the United States when the puck drops at 3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT.