Win­ning a squeaker

Is­lan­ders fire 52 shots at Ti­tan goalie, come away with close win

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY CHARLES REID

Fir­ing more than 50 shots at an op­pos­ing goalie usu­ally adds up to a blowout win, but Reilly Pickard nearly beat the math.

The Acadie-Bathurst net­min­der stopped 50-of-52 shots in the Ti­tan’s 3-1 loss to the Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders and kept the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League game tied un­til Alexis Vanier wristed the game-win­ning goal over Pickard’s right shoul­der with un­der three min­utes left in the third pe­riod.

“It was a play off the rush. There was stuff go­ing on be­hind the net and some stuff go­ing on in front of the net. The puck came out (to Vanier). It was a quick re­lease and I just didn’t pick it up,” said Pickard, who was named the game’s first star. “It’s a tough pill to swal­low. The boys played a great game (and) we’re pretty banged up.”

With Sun­day’s win, the Isles (19-22-5-2) have earned points in 10 of its last 13 games. It also avenged a 4-3 loss to the Ti­tan on Fri­day in Bathurst, N.B., and moved the Isles into a 12th-place tie with Drum­mondville with 45 points.

The Ti­tan dropped to 18-24-32, 16th over­all and good for the last play­off spot.

Pickard was sharp in the first pe­riod, stop­ping 15-of-16 shots. Kameron Kielly beat the Hal­i­fax na­tive with a nice roof shot just over 13 min­utes into the frame for 1-0 pe­riod lead.

Acadie-Bathurst’s Jef­fery Tru­chon-Viel bested Isle goalie Ma­son McDon­ald on a sweet give from Daniil Miro­manov to tie things 1-1 at 11:16 of the se­cond, de­spite the Is­lan­ders send­ing 21 shots Pickard’s way.

But in the end, the Is­lan­ders out-skated and out-chanced the Ti­tan in the third lead­ing to Vanier’s win­ner.

The de­fence­man said the Is­lan­ders re­fused to get frus­trated and likes what he sees from the squad.

“We con­tin­ued the same way. The goalie on the other side did a great job, but we just con­tin­ued to get pucks on the net,” said the 20-year-old Vanier. “I think we can beat any team in this league. (We’re be­com­ing) a tough team.”

Jake Cough­ler added an empty-net goal at 18:47 of the third. The Is­lan­ders host Cape Bre­ton in a two-game set Fri­day and Satur­day at Eastlink Cen­tre. Game times are 7 p.m.

BRIAN MCINNIS/THE GUARDIAN

Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders cen­tre Filip Ryd­strom, left, looks over his shoul­der to see the puck go into the Acadie-Bathurst Ti­tan net be­hind Reilly Pickard on a shot by Kameron Kielly dur­ing Sun­day’s Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League game at Eastlink Cen­tre in Char­lot­te­town.

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