HARDIE SCORES TWICE, ISLANDERS DOWN SEA DOGS
SAINT JOHN – Daniel Hardie scored twice in his first game against his former team, leading the Charlottetown Islanders to a 5-2 victory over the Saint John Sea Dogs, Friday at Harbour Station.
Thomas Casey, Sullivan Sparkes and Nikita Alexandrov also found the net for Charlottetown (28-18-3-0), which snapped a two-game losing skid.
Ostap Safin and Luke Wilson responded for Saint John (12-29-7-2).
A scoring summary is available HERE.
The Islanders scored first, thanks to a former Sea Dog.
Hardie waited in front of the net as Pascal Aquin circled behind the goal, moved to the right side of the goal line and fed a short pass in front. Hardie lifted the puck past the glove of Alex D’Orio in the Sea Dog net.
Casey made it a 2-0 game 41 seconds later with a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that got past D’Orio’s glove.
Charlottetown added one more before the end of the first. It came in the final minute, moments after a Saint John penalty ended, when Hunter Drew blasted a half-slap shot from the middle of the blueline that was deflected by Sparkes inside the right post.
The Islanders used a power play to extended their lead with eight minutes left in the second.
Brett Budgell took a pass in the right circle and saw Alexandrov parked off the left side of the crease. The German-born forward redirected the puck inside the right post.
Matthew Williams replaced D’Orio following Charlottetown’s fourth goal.
Two minutes later, Hardie rifled a hard wrister from the right circle over Williams’ glove to make it 5-0.
Saint John’s leading scorer got them on the board with two-and-a-half minutes left in the frame.
Safin corralled the puck in front of the net and fired a wrist shot that was blocked. The Edmonton Oilers’ prospect grabbed his own rebound and ripped it into the top corner, past the blocker of Islanders’ goalie Matthew Welsh.
Wilson cut the Sea Dogs’ deficit to 5-2 halfway through the third.
The 16-year-old centre picked up the rebound of his own shot from the low slot and deposited the puck past Welsh’s glove.
Saint John thought it had scored again with six minutes left when Alexis Girard batted a loose puck out of the air toward an open net, but Welsh denied the opportunity with his glove.
Welsh made 21 saves for the win. D’Orio made 21 stops through nearly 32 minutes of action. Williams turned aside 12 shots in 28 minutes of relief.
Hardie’s two goals made him first star while Aquin was named second star with one assist. Safin’s goal prompted a third-star selection in front of 4,437 fans in attendance.
The Sea Dogs’ next game is Wednesday, February 7th, at 7 p.m. against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles at Harbour Station. Tickets are available at the Harbour Station Box Office and online.