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Islanders shut out by Gatineau Olympiques

Gatineau Olympiques players, including Charlottetown's Chris McQuaid, former Charlottetown Islanders forward Matthew Grouchy and Summerside's Carson MacKinnon, celebrate their 3-0 victory over the Islanders Monday at the Eastlink Centre.
Gatineau Olympiques players, including Charlottetown's Chris McQuaid, former Charlottetown Islanders forward Matthew Grouchy and Summerside's Carson MacKinnon, celebrate their 3-0 victory over the Islanders Monday at the Eastlink Centre. - Jason Malloy

Grouchy, MacKinnon make what is likely last trip of junior careers to Charlottetown while Chris McQuaid also part of winning Olympiques squad

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

Matthew Grouchy won what was likely his last game at the Eastlink Centre on Monday.

The Labrador City, N.L., native and his Gatineau Olympiques teammates defeated a depleted Charlottetown Islanders squad 3-0 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action.

Summerside's Carson MacKinnon is a forward with the Gatineau Olympiques.
Summerside's Carson MacKinnon is a forward with the Gatineau Olympiques.

“This is where it all started,” said Grouchy, who played the first 1 ½ seasons of his four-year junior career with the Islanders. “I was 17 years old. A lot of emotions coming back here, but the best thing about it is (we) got two points out of it.”

Metis Roelens scored the winner 12 minutes into the first period with Summerside’s Carson MacKinnon drawing an assist.

MacKinnon was in the middle of a weird play in the second period when Islanders rookie defenceman Anthony Hamel dropped the gloves and popped the overage forward. He got a five-minute major and a game misconduct for being the aggressor in the one-sided fight.

The Islanders killed the penalty off but, before they could clear the zone, Kieran Craig scored the insurance marker. Charles-Antoine Roy rounded out the scoring with 4:36 remaining in the middle stanza.

Islanders head coach Jim Hulton said his squad was taxed from Saturday’s victory in Sydney, N.S., and the travel that was associated with the trip for a team dealing with a string of injuries. Oscar Plandowski, a 16-year-old defenceman, also had a long day of travel back from the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge but suited up on little sleep.

“We have nothing left in the tank,” Hulton said. “We bled the tank dry in a real emotional win in Cape Breton.”

Nikita Alexandrov, who leads the team with 14 goals and 23 points in 18 games this season, sustained a lower-body injury midway through Saturday’s game and did not return or dress on Monday. He is considered week-to-week and the team is hoping to have a better handle on the timetable after the pivot meets with a specialist this week.

Forwards Thomas Casey (upper body) and Keiran Gallant (chest) are both day-to-day while defenceman Lukas Cormier still remains out with a foot injury. He is likely not back until December.

Alexandrov has been the driver of the team’s offence most of the season. With him sidelined, it is up to others to do more.

“The window is wide open for the guys like the (Xavier) Fortins and (Cedric) Desruisseauxs who have left us wanting a lot more. It’s time for them to step up,” Hulton said.

Charlottetown Islanders forward Ben Boyd played his first game in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Monday against the Gatineau Olympiques at the Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders forward Ben Boyd played his first game in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Monday against the Gatineau Olympiques at the Eastlink Centre.

While the head coach, who doubles as the team’s general manager, noted there is no panic, it is an evaluation time for the club as the league’s trade period runs from Dec. 15-Jan. 6.

“It’s no secret, our next window to add or delete is coming up fairly quickly,” Hulton said, noting it still wants to build a championship team.

Hulton told his charges when things were going well at the start of the season not to get too high in the good times or low during the struggles.

“This is a good time to practice those words,” he said.

The injuries did provide an opportunity for Ben Boyd to get into his first major junior game.

The six-foot-three, 195-pound forward was selected in the fifth round (75th overall) in June’s draft. The Dartmouth, N.S., native is playing with the Cole Harbour Wolfpack major midget squad again this season. He has nine goals and nine assists in 19 games.

“We were intrigued by him in training camp,” Hulton said. “He’s that big body that we haven’t seen here (in a while). He reminds you of a Pascal Aquin, who played such a valuable role here for this franchise.”

Boyd’s family has cottage on the Island, so he came over for some practices last week to get some exposure to the Islanders program. They want him to continue to build his confidence and work on increasing his footspeed this season in midget but told him they might need him if injuries occurred. They added him after Saturday’s injuries, but with players expected to be ready for Thursday’s games, Boyd is heading back to major midget with the Monctonian on the docket for later this week.

He had a shot in his first game.

Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Brendon Clavelle, right, prepares to take Gatineau Olympiques forward Matthew Grouchy into the boards Monday at the Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders defenceman Brendon Clavelle, right, prepares to take Gatineau Olympiques forward Matthew Grouchy into the boards Monday at the Eastlink Centre.

Grouchy, who turns 20 on Nov. 19, became a fan favourite in his rookie season playing on a line with Keith Getson and Aquin. He was traded the following season to Quebec in the deal that brought Derek Gentile to the Island. Gentile was traded to Cape Breton at last year’s deadline for defenceman Noah Laaouan.

During the draft in June, Quebec flipped Grouchy, an overage forward, to the Olympiques. He has three goals and eight assists in 15 games this season.

“Four years go by faster than you expect,” Grouchy said. “From all the nine-day bus trips and getting there at 4 o’clock in the morning, you cherish those moments. I am just happy I could play here one last time.”

Grouchy worked with Islanders defenceman Brendon Clavelle this summer at Andrew Hockey Growth Programs.

“He’s a great guy, a great leader – that's why he wears the C,” Grouchy said of the Islanders captain. “It’s always good to meet up with old friends, old teammates. We had a lot of fun at work this summer, so getting to see him on the ice is always fun.”


Highlight reel

A look at Monday’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) game between the Charlottetown Islanders and Gatineau Olympiques at the Eastlink Centre.

Outcome

Gatineau – 3.

Charlottetown – 0.

Charlottetown's Chris McQuaid is a defenceman with the Gatineau Olympiques.
Charlottetown's Chris McQuaid is a defenceman with the Gatineau Olympiques.

Goals

Gatineau – Metis Roelens, Kieran Craig and Charles-Anthony Roy.

Assists

Gatineau – Pier-Olivier Roy, Carson MacKinnon, Jeremy Rainville, Kieran Craig and Darick Louis-Jean.

Goalies

Gatineau – Remi Poirier, 27 saves on 27 shots for first career shutout in QMJHL.

Charlottetown – Matthew Welsh, 23 saves on 26 shots.

Power plays

Gatineau – 0-for-4.

Charlottetown – 0-for-3.

Attendance – 2,767.

Records

Gatineau – 7-11-3-0, including 5-0-1-0 in its last six games.

Charlottetown – 12-6-3-0, including 5-5 in its last 10 games.

Up next

Thursday – Charlottetown at Moncton, 7 p.m.

Saturday – Charlottetown at Acadie-Bathurst, 7 p.m.

Sunday – Moncton at Charlottetown, 3 p.m.

Nov. 20 – Baie-Comeau at Charlottetown, 10 a.m.

Nov. 23 – Charlottetown at Sherbrooke, 7 p.m.

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