'An exciting time of the season': Islanders ready to go for season opener
The Charlottetown Islanders will open their 2017-18 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League regular season at home Friday when they host the Moncton Wildcats.
"It's an exciting time of the season," said Islanders head coach Jim Hulton, now entering his second season as bench boss. "Anytime you get that home opener going there's a lot of emotion and energy in the building, and I think we're going to try to build on that and give the crowd their first viewing of what the Islanders are going to be all about this season."
Some of the team's key players from last season's record-setting club are gone, including Daniel Sprong and Filip Chlapik, but there are some familiar faces returning led by forwards Adam Marsh, Keith Getson and goaltender Matt Welsh.
'Emerge as fan favourites'
The lineup will have a number of new faces Hulton believes are going to slowly emerge as fan favourites.
"I think we're going to be a much tighter-checking, lower scoring team, but I think we're going to give up a heck of a lot less," Hulton said. "I think it's going to be defined by goaltending and by defence."
The Islanders 68-game schedule will consist of 10 Friday night home games, nine Saturday night home games and four Sunday afternoon home games.
'Works hard every night'
Defending President's Cup champion Saint John Sea Dogs visit Charlottetown for the first time on Friday, Oct. 6, and Hockey Day on P.E.I. returns for its third season on Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. against the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
"I want a team that just comes out and works hard every night and gets better, it's a journey," Hulton said. "The one thing I've learned over the course of time this isn't a sprint, this is a marathon. You don't get too excited, you don't get too high with the highs, too low with the lows, and I just think we have to have a progression throughout the season and make sure come playoff time we're poised and ready to go."
The Islanders take on the Moncton Wildcats at 7 p.m. followed by a Saturday afternoon matinee against the Halifax Mooseheads. The first drop of the puck is set for 3 p.m.
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