Big test for puck Panthers
UPEI hosting St. FX tonight; Charlottetown Islanders knock off Moncton in QMJHL showdown
It’s been an exciting few days for local hockey fans as the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League knocked off firstplace Moncton 5-4 on Thursday night and it continues tonight when the surprising UPEI Panthers tangle with second-place St. FX at 7 p.m. at MacLauchlan Arena in Atlantic University Sport action.
Panthers head coach Forbie MacPherson has put together a competitive and entertaining club again this year and it seems no matter how many players he loses via graduation, his team is still in a high playoff hunt.
Kameron Kielly was tied for the conference lead in scoring heading into Friday’s action while Gabe Guertler was tied for eighth. Filip Rydstrom had six goals in seven games after a great career with the Islanders, defenceman Doug Blaisdell has nine points in 10 games and the Panthers should give the visitors a stiff test. I don’t expect the Panthers to beat St. FX tonight, but, then again, I didn’t expect them to be 5-5 after 10 games this season.
The Island Storm appears to have the most talented club it has ever had if the intrasquad games are any indication. Former Memphis Grizzlies forward Sampson Carter, Drew League standout Robbie Robinson, ex-Michigan State captain Russell Byrd, pure shooter Tyler Scott and flashy guard Jerrell Tate suggest this club is loaded. The Storm’s big man, Carl Hall, will not be here until early December but I’m certain this cast will do well in his absence.
The Storm conclude a twogame exhibition swing through Prince County tonight at 7 p.m. at Kensington Intermediate-Senior High School against a touring pro club from New Jersey, so take
in this game. All proceeds go towards school activities. The Storm opens the regular season Friday at 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre against the Cape Breton Highlanders. This team is talented, so let’s hope they can put it together for opening night.
It’s been another tough week for the sporting community as we’ve endured the passing of our friend George Brookins, who in the past 40 years has lugged more sports teams from Charlottetown and Summerside to various regional
and national tournaments via Trius Tours than anybody and many times with assistance from his own pocket.
He was a horse owner and supported young drivers like Marc Campbell and Corey MacPherson when they started out in the race game. He especially liked to tell stories about his dad’s 1947 Maritime champion Squire Hanover. For the past 35 years, George picked up veterans free of charge and took them to Remembrance Day services in Charlottetown on Nov. 11.
Elwin Corbett is another that
I’ll certainly miss as he played oldtimers hockey right up until a few years ago when ill health forced him onto the sidelines. He was a great person, who enjoyed telling oldtimers hockey followers how dangerous it was to be on the same line with Gordon Tweedy. Elwin will be missed.
My condolences to all connected to these two gentlemen.
On the football front, the CFL playoffs get underway this weekend with the British Columbia Lions under Wally Buono visiting
the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Steel City.
This could be Buono’s final game as head coach of the B.C. club and it would mark the end of his 47-consecutive year relationship with the CFL as a player and coach. The winner of this game plays Ottawa Nov. 18 in Ottawa. In the West semifinal, also Sunday, Winnipeg travels to Saskatchewan with the winner travelling to Calgary the following week for the West final.
Live harness racing continues this afternoon at 12:30 p.m. with a 13-dash card.
The $2,350 open mares class goes in Race 12 and it includes the likes of Pretty n dangerous, Collective Wisdom, Driving the dragon and six others. There’s also a great Sunday card, beginning at 2 p.m., and the $2,650 top class has, from the rail out, Rockin Indy, Three Truths, Sock It Away, Roll with it harry, Winter Blast and Czar Seelster.
The annual Harrisburg Yearling and Mixed Sale this week broke all previous records for both gross and average. Ian Smith, Eldred Nicholson-James Gorman, Wayne MacRae, Kevin Harvey, Souris native Allan MacDonald all bought yearlings. Anthony MacDonald’s The Stable bought 11 babies and added three more from breeders to push his Harrisburg total to 14, and his Ontario base to 70 yearlings. Talented veteran horseman Mario Baillargeon has joined the Stable.Ca and this knowledgeable horseman will be a great asset in working with the babies.
At Plainridge, Mass., Freddie was third in 1:55 in the $8,200 trot for driver Mike Stevenson. At Mohawk tonight, Easy Lover Hanover and Nova Scotia-owned Rockin in Heaven look like the best in the eight-horse $30,000 top class. Lincoln James (Anthony MacDonald) has the 10-hole in a $15,000 conditioned pace. At Yonkers tonight, Great Vintage (Mark MacDonald) has the rail in the $44,000 open against Ron Burke’s I’m Some Graduate (George Brennan) and four others.
Charlottetown Islanders assistant captain Keith Getson shields the puck from Moncton Wildcats centre Jacob Stewart while coming around the back of the net Thursday during Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action at the Eastlink Centre.