Telling week­end

Hockey Is­lan­ders, hoop Storm host At­lantic coun­ter­parts this week­end

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - Fred Mac­Don­ald Brian An­drew Fred Mac­Don­ald’s col­umn ap­pears ev­ery Satur­day in The Guardian. He can be reached at fid­dlers­[email protected]­mail.com.

The Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders and Is­land Storm are both home this week­end at the Eastlink Cen­tre in games which should tell us how both rate with At­lantic Canada com­pe­ti­tion.

The Storm (2-1) meets the Cape Bre­ton High­landers (2-4) tonight at 7 p.m. in Na­tional Bas­ket­ball League (NBL) of Canada ac­tion. The High­landers dumped the Storm here in our opener and they have an abun­dance of tal­ent with high-scor­ing Bruce Massey, Ja­mal Reynolds and ex-Storm stand­out Chris Johnson, plus tal­ented guard Ta’Quan Zim­mer­man, who played with Hal­i­fax last year.

The Storm was im­pres­sive in its last out­ing here down­ing the de­fend­ing cham­pion Lon­don Light­ning (3-2) due in large part to a great team ef­fort. Samp­son Carter is among the NBL’s top scorer with 22 points per game and he has great sup­port from for­wards Rus­sell Byrd and Rob­bie Robinson. Hal­i­fax na­tive and ex-UPEI guard Tyler Scott, the high­est per­cent­age three-point shooter in the league at 62.5 per cent, tossed in 24 points while Do­minic Shuler and Alex Camp­bell stepped up with im­pres­sive out­ings.

Tonight’s game should be a dandy.

On the hockey front, the Is­lan­ders are one of the elite clubs in the Que­bec Ma­jor Junior Hockey League and pos­si­bly a player or two away from mak­ing a Me­mo­rial Cup ap­pear­ance in Hal­i­fax. The Is­lan­ders meet their arch-ri­val Hal­i­fax Moose­heads here Sun­day at 2 p.m. in a game be­tween qual­ity clubs that could end up in the Me­mo­rial Cup next spring in Hal­i­fax.

Coach Jim Hul­ton con­tin­ues to make moves that ben­e­fit the Is­lan­ders as his re­cent switch to move spark-plug Thomas Casey to the sec­ond line and in­sert speedy and puck smart Derek Gen­tile onto an­other line. Gen­tile is so tal­ented he’d likely get points play­ing on a line with tity coun­cil­lor Mitch Tweel.

Af­ter this week­end, with games against the top two At­lantic Canada ri­vals Monc­ton and Hal­i­fax, the Is­lan­ders could emerge as the best in the East.

If that hap­pens, it could trig­ger an avalanche of trades that might shat­ter the bal­ance in the en­tire Que­bec league – in­ter­est­ing times in­deed.

Toronto

It’s a great time to be a sports fol­lower in Toronto as both the Maple Leafs and the Rap­tors ap­pear to be the class of the NHL and NBA, re­spec­tively.

The re­cent sign­ing of hold­out Wil­liam Ny­lan­der makes the po­tent Leafs at­tack that much

stronger and sug­gests Toronto may be too ex­plo­sive for any other NHL club. The Leafs don’t ap­pear to be in any hurry to land a qual­ity de­fender, es­pe­cially with to­day’s NHL game fea­tur­ing speed and lim­ited hit­ting.

As for the Rap­tors (21-5 be­fore Fri­day’s game at Brook­lyn), they have the best record in the NBA, and with new su­per­stars Kawhi Leonard, Jonas Valan­ci­u­nas, Serge Ibaka and Pas­cal Si­akam, the road to the NBA crown with­out hav­ing to face LeBron James in the East­ern Con­fer­ence is clear sail­ing.

Fal­cons

On the lo­cal mi­nor hockey front, goal­tender Alexan­der Drake posted the 1-0 shutout as the Sher­wood Park­dale Team Two Ban­tam Fal­cons edged Bed­ford in last Sun­day’s cham­pi­onship game of the fifth an­nual O’Leary Clas­sic Hockey tour­na­ment. Michael Gal­lant con­verted a neat set-up from Cameron Whit­lock for the Fal­cons win­ning goal.

Con­do­lences

The pass­ing of Mil­ton-based horse­man and ex-school prin­ci­pal Brian An­drew has rocked

the P.E.I. and Mar­itime har­ness racing com­mu­nity. Two months ago, Brian and brother Bill had been hon­oured at the Breed­ers Crown week­end here in Char­lot­te­town and shortly there­after Brian en­tered the Queen Elizabeth Hos­pi­tal with an undis­closed ill­ness, which turned out to be cancer. What a ter­ri­ble loss for the fam­ily and for the race game. My con­do­lences to wife Carol, daugh­ter Rachel, son Blake, broth­ers Bill and Rollin and all those con­nected to this gen­tle­man.

Har­ness racing

Lo­cal har­ness racing con­tin­ues to­day at 12:30 p.m. with a 15-dash card. The $2,500 pre­ferred goes in Race 14 and it looks like Dig­gin In, Win­ter Blast and Rockin Indy are the best in this nine-horse field. There’s also a $2,300 open mares class where Ken Mur­phy’s Kil­lean Fi­nale has been as­signed the out­side post in the sev­en­horse field.

At Mo­hawk tonight, West River Cindy, Euchred and Bet­tim Jackie are all in to go.

At Flam­boro tonight, Sod­wana Bay has the out­side five post in a small but tough $10,500 pre­ferred mares class that in­cludes The Joy Luck Club.

JA­SON MAL­LOY/THE GUARDIAN

Char­lot­te­town Is­lan­ders for­ward Thomas Casey, right, and Que­bec Rem­parts de­fence­man Felix-Olivier Chouinard go af­ter a loose puck in the Rem­parts zone Thurs­day at the Eastlink Cen­tre. The Isles won the game 3-1.

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