Must-win game

Jason Simmonds
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Caps facing elimination on home ice Thursday

SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals have no more room for error.

Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals defenceman and captain Bobby Zinkan in action at Eastlink Arena.

Simply put, the Capitals must win three straight games against the Campbellton Tigers to avoid a disappointing first-round exit in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) playoffs.

The Capitals, who won the regular-season title in the 12-team league, trail the Campbellton Tigers 3-1 in the best-of-seven Eastlink North Division semifinal series.

“Of course we are a little anxious as it’s do or die now,” said Capitals defenceman and captain Bobby Zinkan in describing the mood of the team before Wednesday afternoon’s practice. “I was researching it this morning (Wednesday), and many teams have done it in the past. It’s not over until it’s over.”

The Capitals will look to get back in the series at Eastlink Arena on Thursday at 7 p.m., and force a Game 6 in Campbellton, N.B., on Saturday night.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to get over some adversity, and sometimes adversity is the springboard for success,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “We have to play one shift at a time, one minute at a time.”

 

Optimistic

Despite a 7-3 road loss in Game 4 on Tuesday night, Zinkan said the Caps are still optimistic.

“We had a good talk yesterday (Tuesday) after the game, and we believe in this group and everyone believes in each other,” said Zinkan, who has committed to the UPEI Panthers for next season.

 

Adjustments?

Will the Caps look to many any adjustments for Game 5?

“We’ve looked at countless hours of video over the series as a staff,” answered McGuigan. “We don’t really feel there are a lot of adjustments to make.

“Of course we are a little anxious as it’s do or die now. I was researching it this morning (Wednesday), and many teams have done it in the past. It’s not over until it’s over.” Capitals defenceman and captain Bobby Zinkan

“We have had all kinds of scoring opportunities, all kinds of chances and just haven’t been able to score those timely goals at timely times to get us over the hump and carry the momentum for us. It seems we’ve been giving up goals in key times that have cost us some momentum.”

Zinkan did agree the Tigers may be getting inside the Caps’ heads a little bit, but added the Caps have to remain calm, get pucks deep and stick to their systems.

“That team is a workhorse,” he said. “They are doing everything in the book to try and get under our skin, they’re working hard and they’re burying their chances.

“They are a lot different team than we played in the regular season, but that’s playoff hockey.”

 

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

 

 

Numbers

A look at the Caps-Tigers’ series:

 

The Tigers have outscored the Caps 20-16.

 

The Tigers are 3-for-17 on the power play in the series, and the Caps are 2-for-11.

 

The Caps are 1-1 (won-lost) in the series on home ice.

 

Malik Johnson (5-5) and Eddie Banville (4-6) lead the Tigers with 10 points each while Gregor MacLeod (2-6) has eight points. Combined, that line has recorded 28 points and is averaging seven points a game through the first four contests.

 

Evan Morrison (4-2) leads the Caps’ in playoff scoring with six points. Thomas Stavert (3-2) and Riley Whittingham (2-3) each have five points.

Organizations: Campbellton Tigers 3, Capitals, Maritime Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Campbellton

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