The Cape Breton Eagles and Charlottetown Islanders don't need much introduction when it comes to Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play.
The two Maritime Division rivals face each other nine times during the regular season each year, not including the playoffs, where the clubs have met twice including last year in a series that saw Cape Breton eliminate Charlottetown in six games in the opening round.
Cape Breton and Charlottetown will kick off their regular season series Wednesday when the Islanders visit Centre 200 to play the Eagles at 7 p.m.
The Eagles and Islanders are currently among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. Charlottetown sits second in the conference with a 7-1-2-0 record for 16 points, while Cape Breton has a record of 7-3-0-0 and are in third place in the conference with 14 points.
Cape Breton is led offensively by their top unit featuring Russian Egor Sokolov, Ryan Francis and Shawn Boudrias. The line, formed on Sept. 29, has combined to produce 42 points through seven games and is considered to be one of the most dangerous combinations in the league.
Charlottetown is powered by Thomas Casey and St. Louis Blues prospect Nikita Alexandrov. The two have four goals and six assists apiece and currently lead the team in points (10). Swiss Import Gaetan Jobin has had a strong start to the year, recording five goals and eight points in nine games.
Between the pipes, Cape Breton and Charlottetown have elite netminders in Kevin Mandolese and Matthew Welsh, respectively.
The 20-year-old Welsh, who attended the Buffalo Sabres training camp this year, leads the league in goals-against-average (1.32) and save percentage (0.947) for Charlottetown.
Cape Breton's Mandolese, who missed time with an upper-body injury early in the season, has a 4-1-0-0 record along with a 2.95 goals-against-average and a 0.898 save percentage.
Following Wednesday's game, Cape Breton will host Membertou's Sonny Kabatay and the Halifax Mooseheads on Friday. Game time is 7 p.m. at Centre 200 in Sydney.
BATTLE OF THE ISLANDS
Season series schedule for Cape Breton and Charlottetown:
- Wednesday, 7 p.m. - Charlottetown @ Cape Breton - Centre 200, Sydney
- Nov. 9, 7 p.m. - Charlottetown @ Cape Breton - Centre 200, Sydney
- Dec. 14, 7 p.m. - Cape Breton @ Charlottetown - Eastlink Centre, Charlottetown
- Dec. 31, 2 p.m. - Charlottetown @ Cape Breton - Centre 200, Sydney
- Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m. - Cape Breton @ Charottetown - Eastlink Centre, Charlottetown
- Jan. 18, 7 p.m. - Cape Breton @ Charlottetown - Eastlink Centre, Charlottetown
- Feb. 28, 7:30 p.m. - Cape Breton @ Charlottetown - Eastlink Centre, Charlottetown
- March 13, 7 p.m. - Charlottetown @ Cape Breton - Centre 200, Sydney
- March 14, 7 p.m. - Charlottetown @ Cape Breton - Centre 200, Sydney
*The teams will meet nine times during the QMJHL regular season.