Caps oust Tigers in seven-game division semifinal

Jason Simmonds
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The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals are moving on!

 

The Capitals defeated the Campbellton Tigers 4-1 in Game 7 of the best-of-seven Eastlink North Division semifinal series in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) on Tuesday night.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Capitals defenceman Tanner McCabe. “We were down so much and to come back, I’m speechless.”

Click for the Journal Pioneer's in-game coverage:

The Capitals rallied with three straight wins to overcome a 3-1 series deficit, and advance to the division final against the winner of Wednesday’s Game 7 between Dieppe and Woodstock.

“They are meant to be seven-game series for a reason, and you have to win four of them,” said Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan. “Throughout the process we just stuck with things and kept rolling.”

Key contributor

A key contributor for the Capitals in Game 7 – played before 2,667 lively fans at Eastlink Arena – was goaltender Kyle Michalovsky, who turned in a solid 32-save effort. Since taking over for Matt Williams with just under 10 minutes remaining in Game 5, Michalovsky has stopped 68 of 70 shots.

“It feels good to step up,” said Michalovsky, who is from Kamloops, B.C. “I don’t know what to say right now. The guys fought hard in front me.”

Michalovsky turned in three outstanding and momentum-changing saves. He denied Gregor MacLeod from point-blank range, and made a pad save off Malik Johnson on a 2-on-none from in close in the first period. Early in the second period he made an outstanding left-pad save,  moving to his left  to get a piece of a hard one-timer.

“Unbelievable,” said McCabe in describing Michalovsky’s performance.

Michalovsky said his preparation was a big key.

“I like to come to the rink early and put my head phones in,” he explained. “I don’t really talk much, just visualize what is going to happen out there, I tape my stick and just think of what I have to do.”

Offensively

Blaize Bridges tapped home a Thomas Stavert rebound to give the Caps a 1-0 lead 11:27 of the first period. The Tigers’ Kyle Orgel tied it 2:24 of the second period, but the Caps answered right back as Josh Pugsley deflected the puck and then batted it out of the air to make it 2-1 at 3:04.

Mitch Dempsey scored on a wrap-around at 12:21 to give the Caps a 3-1 advantage after 40 minutes. Stavert scored a power-play goal 36 seconds into the third period to close out the scoring.

McCabe, Morgan MacDonald, Hunter McIntyre, Joey Colatarci and Bobby Zinkan earned assists for the Caps.

Defensive play

The Caps’ defencemen – McCabe, Zinkan, Colatarci, Alex McQuaid, Jesse Annear and Sebastian Cormier – quietly played an outstanding game in both ends of the rink.

“We are a core of six and everybody chips in their part,” added McCabe.

McGuigan added: “They had a great series. The bigger the task the better they were. It was a great six-man effort.”

Referee’s Thane Arsenault and Tim Hamel called three minor penalties against each team.

The game’s three stars were:

1. Kyle Michalovsky (Caps), 2. Thomas Stavert (Caps), 3. Nathan Yetman (Caps).

 

The Superfan’s assessment of Game 5:

Super player: Kyle Michalovsky.

Super play: Riley Whittingham’s hard body check against the boards between the benches at centre ice. Whittingham was called for interference on the play.

Super prediction: We look forward to hosting the winner of the Dieppe-Woodstock series in Game 1 of the division final.

Series: Caps win 4-3.

Tag: The Journal Pioneer has joined other TC Media properties with MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) teams involved in the 2015-16 playoffs in choosing a Superfan to help analyze each of their favourite team’s home games. Our choice is longtime Caps fan Mark Kanne of Summerside.

 

Scores of series between

Capitals and Tigers:

Game 1

Tigers 6 at Capitals 5.

Game 2

Capitals 4 at Tigers 5 (2OT).

Game 3

Tigers 2 at Capitals 4.

Game 4

Capitals 3 at Tigers 7.

Game 5

Tigers 4 at Capitals 6.

Game 6

Capitals 3 at Tigers 1.

Game 7

Capitals 4 Tigers 1.

 

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

 

Organizations: Capitals, Tigers 5, Maritime Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Dieppe, Kamloops

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