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Billy Blanks Skyhawks

Islanders goalie Billy Stone gets ready to poke check Skyhawks forward Brad Hummel during a third period rush. Photo by Chris Dawson.

Islanders goalie Billy Stone gets ready to poke check Skyhawks forward Brad Hummel during a third period rush. Photo by Chris Dawson.

Islander’s goalie Billy Stone turned away 33 shots en-route to a 1-0 Manitoulin victory over the North Bay Skyhawks Friday night at Memorial Gardens. The loss drops the locals record to 11-6 on the season and marks their third loss in four games

The shutout is Stone’s first in fifty games in the Northern Ontario Hockey League and it couldn’t have come at better time. Heading into Friday’s match-up with the Skyhawks, the Islanders were on a 13 game losing streak and desperate for a win.

“It has been awhile. We just forget about the streak though. You kind of get lost in it. We are playing good hockey and getting tough losses. I don’t think it matters how many in a row it is, it’s just nice to win anytime,” said Billy Stone.

Like most of the night, the Skyhawks glorious opportunities to tie the game continued right down to the final buzzer and Stone didn’t want anything to do with letting the Skyhawks spoil his first career goose ache.

“I remember a couple times. It was with thirteen seconds one time and within a minute another time. Something always seems to happen. A high stick, anything, disallowed goals that shouldn’t have counted, so with five seconds left, I was like, I know the puck may not come through but I am butter-flying and covering every hole because you never know,” said Stone.

The Skyhawks came out of the gates flying and registered the first nine shots of the game only to be denied by the acrobatic Stone. Stones saves include key stops on a five on three around the seven minute mark of the first.

A frustrated Skyhawks club surrendered the momentum halfway through the period and the Islanders would capitalize with 2:57 left in the first frame. An argued tripping call handed out to Josh Diamond led to the forward spending an extra two minutes in the sin bin for an unsportsmanlike conduct call, which set the stage for the game winner.

Chris Shawanda was awarded the games only goal on an individual effort that saw the sniper dangle through the Skyhawks defense before roofing a hard wrist shot upstairs on goalie Jeff Shaffer.

“I think we had our chances but he played well tonight. He did all last year and his done it at the start of this year. They average the most shots against a game and tonight he stood on his head. But the bottom line is we waited to long and we should have played like we did in the first five minutes and last ten minutes for the whole game,” said head coach Darren Turcotte.

The Skyhawks power play was a disappointment, as the home team went 0-13 with the man advantage, including a late four on three, which turned into a five on three and gave the Skyhawks a chance to send the game into overtime.

“I called a time-out and told the guys exactly what I wanted and over the course of two minutes I didn’t see it once,” said Turcotte.

Captain Justin Piquette's big body presence on the power play was noticeably missing as the rugged center sat out serving an instigating major handed out to him last week. Eleven of Piquette's eighteen points have come with man advantage where he causes havoc by screening goalies, while looking for rebounds and tip-ins.

“There were maybe three or four shots in the third period where we didn’t have any traffic. Some of that was guys’ not quite getting there and some of it is guys just not wanting to get there,” said Turcotte.

The Skyhawks will have to put the loss behind them right away as they travel to face off against the charging Abitibi Eskimos Wednesday night.