Ilya Sorokin to start Game 3 for Islanders vs. Hurricanes

Ilya Sorokin Islanders
Ilya Sorokin (Kevin Kane/KK Images)

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. — Ilya Sorokin will start in net for the New York Islanders in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series on Thursday night at UBS Arena, head coach Patrick Roy confirmed on Wednesday. 

“We knew we would have to use both goalies. They’re both sharp,” Roy said. “Varly had a lot of shots the last game so it’ll be good to have someone fresh for tomorrow.”

New York’s No. 1 goalie was relegated to the bench for the first two games of the series — Roy opting to go with the hotter Semyon Varlamov, who won seven of his final eight appearances of the regular season to help the Islanders make the playoffs. 

Sorokin, who had struggled for considerable stretches this season, came on strong to finish off the regular season on a high note with wins in three of his last four starts to go with a .932 save percentage. It wasn’t enough to get the starter’s crease from Varlamov, though.

“Varly and Ilya have such a good relationship and they help each other,” Roy said. “I think Ilya understood what was going on because Varly played so well because that’s normal.”

Semyon Varlamov Islanders
Semyon Varlamov (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

Varlamov was exposed to an onslaught of an attack from the Hurricanes across the first two games of the series — both losses — including a 5-3 loss in Game 2 Monday night that saw the Islanders squander a 3-0 lead by getting out-attempted 110-28.

Roy teased on Tuesday that there could be a change in goal despite lauding Varlamov’s ability to cut down on rebounds and hold onto the puck. 

“I feel like Ilya’s coming into the perfect scenario,” Roy said. “We’re down 2-0 in the series, now he’s going in and all he could do is go in and enjoy the ride.”

For more on Ilya Sorokin and the Islanders, visit AMNY.com