STRONG PLAYOFF RUNS
The Charlottetown Forum 1931-1990
While it was disappointing not to go all the way and win the Stanley Cup, the Las Vegas Golden Knights coached by Islanders Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly were the talk of hockey throughout the regular season to the finals as they faced the Washington Capitals. At season’s Turk Gallant was named Coach of the Year winning the Jack Adam’s Award as best coach in the NHL.
The expansion Knights set numerous records for a first year team under Gallant and Kelly & company defying the odds on their way to a 51-24-7 record which gave them first place in the NHL Pacific Division and third overall in the Western Conference.
The Knights had the best ever record for any expansion team and their success spilled over into the playoffs as they knocked out the Los Angeles Kings then the San Jose Sharks and defeated the favoured Winnipeg Jets in five games in the Western final winning the final game, 2-1 as Ryan Reaves provided the winner deflecting a shot into the net mid-way through second period and an unbelievable trip to the Stanley Cup final.
The Knights were 12-3 in the first three series as they prepared for the Washington Capitals. Las Vegas was off for eight days as the Caps battled with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern final which they captured in the seventh and deciding game, 4-0. Alex Ovechkin provided the winner and Braden Holtby made 29 saves. Both players would play a prominent role in the final.
Coach Gallant stated winning series early was key to advancing thus far and avoiding seven game sets that would wear a team down.
The Knights called themselves the “Golden Misfits” made up of players cast off by other NHL teams who either came to Vegas in the expansion draft the year previous or were traded to the Knights.
The Entertainment Capital of the World was full of hockey fever as the Cup final began on Monday, May 29. The lead changed four times as they Knights held on for a 6-4 victory over Washington. The Knights, who had won both regular season meetings, were tied 2-2 after 1 and 3-3 after 2. The Caps jumped ahead 4-3 in the final period. Reeves tied it and Tomas Nosek scored the winner and an empty netter as Vegas came back. Golden Knights star Jonathan Marchessault was blind-sided by a hit from Washington’s Tom Wilson during the game. Wilson was not subject to any NHL discipline.
Game 2 was decided by “The Save” made by Holtby in the Caps net in the final period which kept a 3-2 lead and final outcome for Washington which tied the series. Brooks Orpik got the game winner at 9.41 in the second. James Neal had two for the Knights.
Washington returned home and won Game 3, 3-1. Holtby made 21 saves in the victory. Alex Ovechkin scored his 14th goal of the playoffs and Evgeny Kuznetsov added another in the second. Nosek provided the only Golden Knights goal. Devan Smith-Pelly made it 3-1 Washington with six minutes left.
Game 4 stretched the Capitals lead to 3-1 in the series as Washington made a statement winning 6-2. It was the first time the Knights had lost three in a row all season. The Caps were up 3-0 after 1 and 5-2 following period 2. T.J. Oshie scored once and set up two others. Kuznetsov had four assists.
Gallant was given the Key to the City by Summerside Mayor Bill Martin in a special Canada Day ceremony that honoured the Island native son by his birthplace. Both he and Mike Kelly were named parade marshal’s for the 2018 Gold Cup Parade in Charlottetown during Old Home Week in August.
The Capitals decided the finals returning to Las Vegas on Thursday, June 7 with a 4-3 victory which ended the Cinderella season for the Knights. Vegas led, 3-2 after 2 but the Caps scored twice in the third for the comeback victory. Lars Ellers had the game winner scoring at 7.37 in the final period.
Ovechkin, who scored his 15th in the playoffs in the final game was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP and hoisted the Stanley Cup for the first time for Washington. The Capitals won the last four games to win their first NHL championship in 43 years as a franchise.
The Caps made it a year to remember in 2017-18 led by the Maritime Jr. Hockey League's top two scorers in T.J. Shea (43 G 105 Pts) & Brodie MacArthur (29 G 89 Pts) and forced the eventual league champion Edmundston Blizzard to seven games in the North Division finals.
Summerside’s Noah Dobson was the 12th choice overall in the first round taken by the NY Islanders. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan defenseman capped a great year that included winning the Memorial Cup. He’s the highest selection ever for a PEI born player. Buffalo had the first pick and took defenseman Rasmus Dahlin.
Charlottetown Islanders defenseman Hunter Drew was selected in the 6th round, 178th overall by the Anaheim Ducks.
Moncton Wildcats forward Jeremy McKenna went undrafted but was invited to the Arizona Coyotes Development Camp.
Seven Islanders were selected in the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League Draft in June.
Moncton selected defenseman Jordan Spence of the Summerside Western Capitals. He was 20th overall.
Charlie Desroches, another defenseman, was taken 32nd by Saint John after playing with Selects Academy Under 15.
Defenseman Cole Larkin of the Charlottetown Pride Major Midgets was picked 34th by Halifax.
Two other Pride players were selected- goalie Eric MacInnis (Victoriaville, 175th) and defenseman Ed MacNeill (Blainville, 198th).
A pair of Kensington Wild Major Midgets also went – left wing Marc Richard (Cape Breton, 187th) and defenseman William Proud (Drummondville, 230th).
The Charlottetown Islanders drafted defenseman Lucas Cormier of the Moncton Flyers Major Midget 4th overall.
The first pick was forward Hendrix LaPierre of Gatineau, selected by Chicoutimi.
The Summerside Western Capitals used their first to take Kensington left wing Marc Richard. Defenseman Ed McNeill of Charlottetown was the Caps second pick.
Seventeen Island born players were selected in the draft in June.
Charlottetown Islanders head coach Jim Hulton was named as an assistant coach for Team Canada for the 2019 World Junior Tournament. Goalie Matt Welsh and defenseman P.O. Joseph were selected for Team Canada’s summer camp.
NHL Free Agency
Summerside’s Alex Gallant signed with the Las Vegas Golden Knights in July, adding another PEI twist to the Vegas story.
Jimmy The Coach
All-time PEI Rocket fan favourite Jimmy Bonneau named an assistant coach with the San Jose Barracuda in the AHL.
Some sad news in late May and early June with the passing of two Summerside hockey men.
Ivan Baglole, an assistant coach under Gerard Gallant with the 1997 Royal Bank Cup champion Summerside Western Capitals died on May 26 at the age of 72. He played an important role on the bench with the Caps team that won PEI’s first national Jr. A hockey title.
Summerside native Don Cameron, the voice of the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL passed away in June at age 81. Cameron called over 4,000 Rangers games over a 50 years beginning in 1963. Known as “The Legend” Cameron retired from the broadcast booth following the 2015-16 season. He began his play-by-play career on CJRW radio in Summerside in 1956 calling the Summerside Aces senior team games.
Charlottetown Islanders 2017-18
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Summerside WesternCapitals 2017-18
Prince Edward Island has a long and storied hockey history that dates back to 1890's. The game has grown from a winter pass time into a passion that is woven into the fabric of Canada's smallest province. These are the stories of rising stars, hockey heroes and the pursuit of excellence with humble beginnings on Island Ice.
The Islanders had a strong run in the Q playoffs in 2018 but came up just one game short in the semi-finals as they went out in seven exciting games to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. All three games in Charlottetown went to overtime and were won the Islanders in front of packed houses at the Eastlink Centre .
Brodie McCarthy 2000-2018
Kings County Kings Midget AAA
COMING THIS FALL....
Gerard Gallant - High Rolling in Vegas
Andrews Hockey Growth
Tragedy struck on May 11, 2018 when 18-year old student-athlete Brodie McCarthy from Cambridge, PEI suffered a freak head injury while playing for Montague Regional High School in the 22nd David Voye Memorial Rugby Tournament at Three Oaks Regional High School in Summerside. Brodie was taken to Vikings bench but later collapsed and was rushed to Prince County Hospital and then transfered to Moncton City Hospital where he under went brain surgery that was unsuccessful. His family removed him off life support on Mother's Day. His funeral was held Monday, May 21 in Montague. As was his wish his organs were donated to others in need of transplants.
Brodie was a member of the Kings County Kings in PEI Miidget AAA hockey. He turned 18 in February and would have graduated in June.
TURK, MIKE & THE KNIGHTS