Caps pick up decisive victory in rough tilt vs. Timberwolves
SUMMERSIDE – Fans were treated to old-style hockey at Eastlink Arena on Thursday night.
The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals held Retro ‘80s Night, which included honouring the 1988-89 team that finished runner-up in the national championship at Cahill Stadium. The Caps then registered a solid 8-2 victory over the Miramichi Timberwolves in the first of four meetings between the teams in January.
“It was entertaining,” assessed Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan. “It was probably the first game this year that we’ve been in where you felt that old rivalry there.
“It was an old-style hockey game for sure, crashing and banging, a couple of fights and lots of goals.”
The win allowed the Caps to maintain sole possession of first-place overall in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League). The Caps are 22-8-1-0 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses), two points ahead of arch-rival Woodstock Slammers (20-6-3-0), who defeated the Truro Bearcats (15-10-3-1) by a 3-0 score.
“We knew coming back we have to dig down and get every point we can,” said Capitals’ fourth-year forward Thomas Stavert of Kensington. “They are a good hockey club, and they had a few guys out tonight (Thursday).
“We know they are going to be tougher the next time we play them. We just have to make sure we are ready every game. Tonight, the score was kind of lopsided, but we know it’s not going to be like that every night.”
Before 886 fans, the Caps and Timberwolves’ matchup had an edge right from the start. The Caps’ Joey Colatarci and Liam Alcade dropped the gloves 4:05 into the game after the Miramichi forward was being whistled for a checking-from-behind major.
The game featured numerous post-whistle skirmishes and some solid body checks. The Caps’ Tanner McCabe and Miramichi’s Duncan McKie easily drew the loudest cheer of the night after a spirited heavyweight bout 3:04 into the third period.
“I thought we got better as the game went on, and we were sticking up for each other,” said McGuigan. “That’s what I liked about our team.”
Offensively, Stavert led the Capitals with two goals and two assists to increase his league-leading point total to 66.
“It was entertaining. It was probably the first game this year that we’ve been in where you felt that old rivalry there. It was an old-style hockey game for sure, crashing and banging, a couple of fights and lots of goals.” Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan
“I kind of slowed down the last couple of games, and I wanted to have a big one tonight,” said Stavert. “Our line has to try to be offensive every night, that’s our role on the team.”
Nathan Yetman, Julian Makary, Alex Peddle, Evan Morrison, Morgan MacDonald and Mitch Dempsey also scored for the Capitals, who built period leads of 4-1 and 6-2.
McKie and Dylan Wheatley of Cornwall replied for the Timberwolves (16-10-0-2).
Caps goaltender Matt Williams turned in a solid 23-save effort. Miramichi starter Tanner Somers gave up six goals on 17 shots before Bobby Dugan III took over. The final shots-on-goal totals were 27-25 in favour of the Caps.
The three stars were:
1. Thomas Stavert (Caps), 2. Mitch Dempsey (Caps), 3. Blaize Bridges (Caps).
The Capitals host Truro on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.