Newcomers make huge contributions
MIRAMICHI, N.B. – It’s a game the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals may look back upon as a key point of the 2015-16 season.
The Capitals, who only a few weeks ago were atop the MHL’s (Maritime Junior Hockey League) overall standings, were 20 minutes away from having the fourth-place Miramichi Timberwolves close to within four points in the Roger Meek Division.
The Timberwolves took a 4-2 lead into the third period of Saturday night’s meeting, but the Capitals rallied with three unanswered goals and a 5-4 victory.
The Caps, who are 24-12-1-1 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses), moved into second place, one point ahead of Dieppe (24-10-1-0) and eight clear of Miramichi. The Caps are four points back of first-place Woodstock (25-7-3-1), who lost 3-0 to Campbellton (17-12-5-1) on Saturday.
Campbellton is two points back of Miramichi for the final playoff spot.
At the Miramichi Civic Centre, Riley Whittingham, who was acquired at the Jan. 10 roster deadline, had two goals and two assists to lead the Capitals to just their third win in eight games since Christmas.
Rookie defenceman Jesse Annear started the Caps’ comeback 3:56 into the third period and Sam LeBlanc, who was also acquired on Jan. 10, tied the game at 6:52. Alex Peddle (1-1) then put the Caps in front at 10:50.
Mitch Dempsey, a player the Caps acquired from County for conditional first-round picks in 2016 and 2017, along with the rights to goaltender Kevin Resop and future considerations for on Nov. 21, contributed three assists. Single helpers went to Tanner McCabe, Blaize Bridges, Evan Morrison and Nathan Yetman.
Neil Aird (2-1), Brayden Uhrich (1-2) and Oliver Gendron (1-1) replied for the Timberwolves, who led 2-1 after the first period.
Overall, the Caps outshot Miramichi 37-32, including a 14-9 advantage in the first period. Winning goaltender was Matt Williams.
The three stars were:
1. Riley Whittingham (Caps), 2. Neil Aird (Timberwolves), 3. Alex Peddle (Caps).