Dwyer's Islanders have now lost six in a row after a 10-2-0-2 start. (theguardian.pe.ca)Say what you will about Charlottetown Islanders head coach Gordie Dwyer, a former NHLer who once got a 23-game suspension for leaving the penalty box in an exhibition game. He certainly was an honest player.
And he definitely was honest Sunday after a 6-2 loss to the Moncton Wildcats, which saw his Islanders have a goal called back for goaltender interference and take seven penalties. The Wildcats scored on five of them.
“We tell our guys to go to the net hard,” Dwyer said. “We like to battle for pucks. I didn't get the memo from the league that you can't go to the net hard and dig for loose pucks before the whistle is blown. I'll keep telling my guys to go to the net hard and dig for loose pucks and try to score some garbage goals.
“We necessarily, potentially, don't have the talent of some of these top teams in the league to tic-tac-toe, so I'll tell my guys to go to the net hard and dig for loose pucks when they're around them, and the referees, they got to get their whistles out of their pockets a little quicker."
Dwyer was visibly animated after the goal was disallowed, which also gave forward Craig MacLauchlin a penalty for goaltender interference. The Wildcats scored just eight seconds later off a centering pass that hit defenceman Troy Vance's skate and went between Islanders netminder Eric Brassard's legs.
Charlottetown had broken the goose egg just two minutes before, and the goal would have put them in a great position, down 4-2 with a period and a bit to go.
Loss makes six in a row
The 6-2 loss was the frustrating end to a frustrating week for Charlottetown, who suffered from three defeats in three days over the weekend. The Islanders have now lost six in a row after coming out of the gate 10-2-0-2. Their .579 point percentage is eighth-best in the 18-team Quebec League.
“We’ve been on a little bit of a slide here,” Dwyer admitted. “You got to dig your heels in in those games. Those wins don’t seem to come as easily when you’re in one of those streaks. We got a young group here; we’ll learn from it, we’ll rebound and we’ll keep moving forward.”
Dwyer wasn’t happy with his team’s start on Sunday either, either. The Wildcats scored in the first three minutes and clawed out to a 3-0 lead after one period.
"Obviously, I wasn’t happy with our start,” Dwyer said. “I thought we seemed to be a little bit flat coming out. It doesn't help when you have a 15 minute ceremony going on before the game, but no excuses [for our play].
“We found a way to the penalty box early in the game and obviously, they capitalized on it. From there, I think we tried to claw back into the game. We weren't able to put any traction under our feet tonight. It seemed like they'd get a little ahead of us, and we'd run into some penalty trouble. [Have to give] credit to their power play for making those power plays count.”