Rus­sian front

Moosheads’ Jared McIsaac on the blue­line against Rus­sians

Truro Daily News - - Front Page - BY CHARLES REID

Truro’s Jared McIsaac is a mem­ber of the QMJHL team that is tak­ing on the Rus­sian ju­niors in games staged re­gion­ally to test their skills and let fans en­joy hockey at a high level.

Think of the CIBC Canada Rus­sia Series as an all-star game of sorts with some of the best ma­jor ju­nior hockey play­ers in the world.

That’s how Pierre-Olivier Joseph is look­ing at it.

The Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders de­fence­man is part of a 23-man Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League squad tak­ing on a Rus­sian national team in Games 5 and 6 of the an­nual six-game series be­tween the Rus­sians and the Cana­dian Hockey League.

Game 5 is tonight (Tues­day), at 8 p.m., at Eastlink Cen­tre. It’s the first time the series has landed on the Is­land.

“It’s go­ing to be great at home play­ing for the fans with a group of tal­ented guys. It’s go­ing to re­ally be fun play­ing with these guys. They’re so fast so you have to be ready,” said Joseph af­ter team prac­tice Mon­day. “The Rus­sians are re­ally, re­ally fast and ad­just­ing re­ally good in the last three games. We have to use our skills and we have to be ag­gres­sive.”

The series pits the Rus­sians in two games each against all-star teams from the Western Hockey League and the On­tario Hockey League. This year, the Rus­sians lead 2-1 and played Mon­day in Sud­bury, Ont., against the OHL.

Joseph is the Is­lan­ders’ cap­tain and an as­sis­tant cap­tain with the QMJHL team. And the Ari­zona Coyotes first round pick at the 2017 NHL draft is right about the Rus­sian ad­just­ments.

Rus­sia lost 7-0 to the WHL in the opener Nov. 6, then re­cov­ered with a 4-3 win the next night. It dropped the OHL 5-2 in the game on Nov. 9.

So Sum­mer­side na­tive Noah Dob­son, who of­ten paired with Joseph in prac­tice, knows stop­ping the skilled Rus­sians means

dig­ging deep into his de­fen­sive bags of tricks.

“They seem to have a pretty strong team, and are strong phys­i­cally but we have to fo­cus on our game and on our style,” said Dob­son, who was Acadie-Bathurst’s first round pick in 2016. “In­stinct has to take over. Ev­ery (team) plays a sim­i­lar de­fen­sive sys­tem. You’re here for a rea­son so in­stincts have to take over.”

Dob­son ex­pects his par­ent and grand­par­ents, who bil­let him in Bathurst, N.B., to be at the game.

The six-foot-three blue-liner has 18 points through 22 games this year and is one of four At­lantic Cana­di­ans on the ros­ter.

Jared McIs­sac of Truro joins him in the d-corp from the Hal­i­fax Moose­heads, goalie Evan Fitz­patrick (Sher­brooke) is from St. John’s, N.L., and Mika Cyr, who hails from Sainte-Anne-deMadawaska, N.B., is tied for the Monc­ton Wild­cats scor­ing lead with 27 points.

The games also at­tract pro scouts by the dozens. A good thing for many on the ros­ter who are in their NHL draft year, are draft el­i­gi­ble or have al­ready been se­lected.

One on those draft el­i­gi­bles, Shawn Boudrias, an Is­lan­ders first rounder in 2015, comes back to the Link with the Q squad af­ter be­ing traded last year to Gatineau as Char­lot­te­town beefed up for a long play­off run.

And he’s ready for the spec­ta­cle and the return to Char­lot­te­town.

“It feels pretty good to be back here, pretty good to play in front of the (Char­lot­te­town) fans again,” said Boudrias, who’s fourth in scor­ing on the Olympiques with 14 points. “The Rus­sians are more ag­gres­sive this year, they’re get­ting used to the North Amer­i­can game. We’re rep­re­sent­ing the Q and it’s a good league that can com­pete with any­one.”

The fi­nal game of the series is Thurs­day in Monc­ton, N.B. Start time is 8 p.m.


Jared McIsaac, from Truro and a mem­ber of the Hal­i­fax Moose­heads, runs a drill Mon­day in Char­lot­te­town in prepa­ra­tion for tonight’s game five of the CIBC Canada Rus­sia Series.

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