'Hold our heads up high': Charlottetown Islanders' record season comes to end

The Charlottetown Islanders' season came to an end Saturday night, but the team is proud and optimistic heading into the summer break.

"We really took that next step as an organization and we're looking forward to next year," said president of operations Craig Foster. "Lot of things to hold our heads up high about."

The Islanders set regular-season franchise records in wins (46), points (96) and goals scored (303), and advanced to the third round of the Quebec Major Junior League Hockey playoffs for the first time.

About 3,200 fans — still a few hundred short of a sellout — were at the Eastlink Centre Saturday night when the Islanders were eliminated in Game 5 of the best-of-seven semifinal series, losing 5-2 to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

"I think fans and players and staff are disappointed the ride has come to an end a little quicker than we thought it would, but all in all [it was a] a really good season," said Foster.

The Islanders were without star forward Daniel Sprong, who was suspended for an illegal hit in Game 4. The team also received sad news Friday night that forward Dillon Boucher's father died.

'We're going to still be OK'

Sprong, a 20-year-old Pittsburgh Penguins prospect, won't be back next year, nor will forward Filip Chlapik and defencemen Guillaume Brisebois and Nicolas Meloche, who have signed with NHL teams.

But both goaltenders, Mark Grametbauer and Matthew Welsh, will be back in Charlottetown. Other key returnees are highly touted defencemen Pierre-Olivier Joseph — a potential first-round NHL draft pick — and Saku Vesterinen.

"We're going to be still OK," Foster said. "We've done a really good job the last number of years of changing the culture and making it a winning place and a place that does thing the right way so we're really excited about the future."

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