Islanders to face their favourite opponent during Rivalry Week
There’s nothing historical, political or even geographical in the rivalry between the Acadie-Bathurst Titan and the Charlottetown Islanders.
It’s all about hockey and the Islanders just love playing against the Titan.
After all, the PEI-based club has an all-time record of 22-13-0-1 against their Acadian foes, which is the best winning percentage (.629) they have against any other team in the QMJHL. The mystery of it all is that the Isles still manage to trail the Titan by 13 goals scored (100-113).
Last season, the Islanders closed that gap after winning eight of their nine meetings, scoring 42 goals and allowing only 22.
This season’s top scorer in Charlottetown, American winger Adam Marsh joined the Islanders from Val-d’Or after two seasons in Saint John. His career numbers against the Titan are pretty impressive with eight goals and 16 points in 18 games.
Islanders starting goalie Matthew Welsh will be particularly happy to face the Titan against whom he had a 4-1-0-0 record with a 2.75 goal-against average and a .930 save percentage in five starts last season. Welsh must be salivating to face the Titan after starting the 2017-18 campaign with only one win over his first five starts.
Overage winger Liam Murphy is one of the top scorers with Acadie-Bathurst early in his first season with the Titan after spending his first three campaigns in the Q with the Moncton Wildcats. He could use his current streak to turn his personal tide against the Islanders, having scored only one goal and three points in 19 regular-season games against Charlottetown heading into this season.
The Titan can also take comfort in their perfect 4-0 record against the Islanders in the preseason, scoring 22 goals and allowing only three. Rookie right-winger Justin Ducharme – a Quebec Rempart third round pick at the 2016 QMJHL Draft – scored five goals and seven points in those wins over the Islanders. He has also gone on to explode since with five goals in six regular-season games, tying him with teammate Samuel L’Italien and Drummondville’s Robert Lynch as the League’s top rookie goal scorers.
Despite the fact these teams play in the same division, they have yet to still face one another in the postseason, which would certainly ratchet up the Battle of the Gulf rivalry a few notches.
However, a major trade went down between the two teams at the 2016 QMJHL Draft in Charlottetown when the Isles acquired Titan captain, first round pick in 2013 and 19-year-old defenceman Guillaume Brisebois, who is a Vancouver Canucks prospect, along with Jake Barter, another 19-year-old blueliner in exchange for defenceman Luc Deschenes a second round pick in 2017 and a first round pick in 2018.