Summerside Western Capitals
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals capped a perfect week in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) on Sunday afternoon.
Blaize Bridges scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Caps a 4-3 win over the Miramichi Timberwolves. It was the Caps’ fourth win in five days and improved their record to 18-20-2-3. The Caps also picked up a 3-1 win in Campbellton on Wednesday, a 4-3 come-from-behind overtime win over the Valley Wildcats on Friday night and a 7-6 shootout decision over the Dieppe Commandos in Memramcook, N.B., on Saturday.
“When you looked at the schedule and saw four (games) in five (days), we knew it was going to be a tough week,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman. “Valley, which has been playing well since the (Jan. 10 roster) deadline is always tough to play against; you had Dieppe and Miramichi, and not to mention we had a game with Campbellton that really still had some playoff implications.
“Obviously, we are ecstatic with the way things turned out. . . It was a gutsy, gutsy week by all our guys.”
Before an announced crowd of 701 fans at Eastlink Arena, Bridges made no mistake beating Timberwolves goaltender Clint Windsor high on the glove side on the Caps’ first shot of the shootout.
“Last time we played Miramichi in a shootout in Miramichi I went five-hole on him (Windsor),” said Bridges. “I knew he was thinking I would go five-hole again this time, so I kind of dropped the shoulder and put it up over his glove.”
Thomas Stavert, David Sweet and Alex Bradley scored in regulation time for the Capitals. Cavan Fitzgerald (2), Blake Millman, Isaac Jay, Mitch Henneberry and Joey Colatarci added assists.
Rankyn Campbell (2) and Alex Scully countered for the Timberwolves (29-9-0-4).
The first period was scoreless, and the teams went into the second intermission tied 2-2.
Simon-Pier Chamberland earned the goaltending win. The shots-on-goal totals through regulation time and overtime were 31-28 for Miramichi, including a 12-3 advantage in the first period.
“Miramichi is a tremendous hockey club, and there is a ton of skill over there,” said Schurman. “We didn’t have any legs early in the game and were a little sluggish early, which is to be expected.
“We found a way to hammer down, our guys battled down and gave everything they had. We were able to hang around and eventually get it together and create a little offence.”
Referee Mike Annear called four of five minor penalties against the Timberwolves.
The game’s three stars were:
1. David Sweet (Caps), 2. Mitch McMullin (Timberwolves), 3. Cavan Fitzgerald (Caps).
Sunday’s game capped a big week for Stavert, who scored six goals, including two game-winners, in the Caps’ four games.
“Thomas Stavert had a tremendous week,” said Schurman. “He (Stavert) and his line of Blaize and Max (Pitre) were key contributors offensively, especially with Brad Power being out and today (Sunday) with Malik (Johnson) being out.
“It changed our dynamic up front a little bit, but you have guys like Jordie (Jordan Buchanan), who is blocking shots, and Blake (Millman) is providing a physical presence.
“Our D did a tremendous job. We had five D twice this weekend. Guys like Joey (Colatarci), Henney (Henneberry), Fitzy (Fitzgerald, Brett (Doiron) and Lucas (Blomquist) are playing like 25, 30 minutes a night. It’s amazing their stamina.”