Summerside juniors top visiting Campbellton Tigers
SUMMERSIDE — The Summerside Western Capitals earned a much-needed victory in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) on Sunday afternoon.
The Capitals received two goals and one assist from co-captain JP Harvey, three helpers from rookie Zen Hamil and a solid 36-save effort from first-year goaltender Alex Kelly of Kensington in snapping a five-game losing streak with a 6-1 triumph over the Campbellton Tigers.
“I thought we got better as the game went along,” said Caps head coach Tim Schurman. “Even though we were up early, we were still a little sloppy and got away from some of the things we started doing (well) the last couple of nights.
“When we started to do the little things we are asking of them and match Campbellton’s work ethic, I felt we did good and started to get some breaks.”
Sunday’s game was the third in less than 72 hours for the Capitals, who lost 5-3 in Woodstock, N.B., on Friday and dropped a 6-1 decision in Dieppe, N.B., on Saturday. Despite the fact the Caps lost those games, Schurman saw lots of positives for the rebuilding team.
“Anybody that would have watched our last couple of games would have seen that we played good hockey games,” continued Schurman. “Last night (Saturday), in Dieppe, I thought we were the better team and I also thought we were the better team in Woodstock.
“We are seeing this group grow as a team, and guys are starting to buy into stuff we are asking them to do system-wise. It’s just a matter of getting a few breaks going our way. We had some chances today, and we buried them.”
Before an announced crowd of 629 fans at Eastlink Arena, Bruce Hornbrook (1-1), Thomas Stavert (1-1), Malik Johnson and Curtis MacGregor also scored for the Caps, who improved to 2-5-0-0.
Francis Bernier answered for the Tigers (3-5-1-0).
The Caps led 3-1 after the first and second periods, and then made it 4-1 with a power-play goal at 3:06 of the third period. The Caps then closed out the scoring with two goals in the final four minutes.
“It nice to get the lead, but our focus is to have everybody playing the same way, pull together and stick together. It doesn’t change whether we are in the lead or behind.
“A 2-5 (won-lost) record isn’t an ideal record by any means, but we are moving in the right direction. We see it every day we are on the ice, every game we play, guys are buying in, they’re becoming a tight-knit group and we’re seeing some character come from our leadership group.”
Cavan Fitzgerald, Blaize Bridges and Chad Jones earned single assists for the Capitals.
Overall, the Capitals outshot the Tigers 48-37, thanks to a 23-8 advantage in the third period. In fact, the teams went into the second intermission with the Tigers outshooting the Caps 29-15.
Schurman praised Kelly’s play, pointing out he came up with some key saves early on in the game that allowed the Caps to jump out in front.
“It was a matter of being ready from the get-go,” said Kelly, 17. “My last game here in Summerside I wasn’t quite ready off the bat, and I knew the first 10 minutes were going to be a key 10 minutes, and I have to make those saves.”
The Capitals’ next home game is against the Bridgewater Lumberjacks on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 2 p.m.