The Cape Cod Islanders headed out to Morrisville, NY last weekend to take on the Syracuse Stampede, a team that they have never beaten twice in a season. In fact, the all time series between the two franchises heavily favors the Stampede over the past three seasons. It can be safe to say that head coach Dan Hodge had his reservations going into the weekend. "We have never faired well against Syracuse, they have dominated us for the most part over the course of the past 3 or 4 seasons. So going into the weekend I was hopeful that we would play good team hockey and get some points out of the trip." The Islanders did play team hockey and they did earn points, all four points to be exact with a tough 4-3 victory on Friday night and a convincing 7-2 win on Saturday.
Friday night's game was a roller coaster ride to say the least, the Isles stormed out to a 3-0 lead over two periods only to see their three goal lead dwindle to one goal by the 10:50 mark of the third period. Barnstable's Frank Oakley scored what proved to be the game winner at 12:05 of the period. "What a great effort by Oakley on that fourth goal, he got the turn over form the Stampede d man and made a nice move a ripped shot far side. He's been really playing great hockey and I was glad that he scored what was the game winner" Hodge continued "Frankie has just been playing great hockey, you can see he has a confidence that he didn't have last season. He has really stepped it up this season and become a leader on the ice through his play."
The Stampede would tally another goal to make the score 4-3, but Cape goaltender, Patrick Spaulding kept the door shut and preserved the win for the Islanders. "This was really a tale of three different periods, we played well in the first and got a 2-0 lead. We let off the gas in the second but still managed to increase our lead to 3-0. The third period we stood around and watched and they took it to us, we lucked out and got a timely goal from Oakley and Spaulding made the saves he needed to make."
On Saturday, the Islanders played a more complete game. Islanders leading scorer Charles Malenfant was out of the line up due to him taking the SAT test in nearby Utica, NY. This left Islanders Dan Hodge wondering how he would replace Malenfant on the team's top line. Mack O'Shea was inserted into the spot and he proved why he is the character guy this team re signed over the summer. O'Shea is not known for his offensive output, he is more of a penalty kill specialist. But not on this night he scored two goals and lead the Islanders to a convincing 7-2 victory. "You love to see guys like Mack get their due, he works so hard and does anything I ask him to do. I couldn't be happier to see him get a pair in our team's win."
Andrey Stankevich scored 2 goals, Christian Holmes, Isaac Bosse and Anthony Giannelli all scored a goal in the game. The Isles went 3 for 4 on the man advantage and Kevin Belanger stopped 27 of 29 shots he faced.
The Islanders close out the 2014 portion of their season this weekend with a home game Friday night at 7:10 pm at Tony Kent vs the Maine Wild and an away game in Biddeford on Saturday against the Wild.