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Jason Simmonds
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Caps host Tigers in win or go-home contest

SUMMERSIDE – It’s one of the greatest spectacles in sports.

Game 7!

P.E.I. fans will witness a winner-take-all contest at Eastlink Arena on Tuesday, when the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals and Campbellton Tigers will decide the best-of-seven Eastlink North Division semifinal series in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).

“It’s another hockey game,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “We have to be prepared to play in it.

“Obviously, Game 7s are tough and a lot of emotion comes into it. We have to stay focused and stay within our structure, and play right through until the end. It will be do or die for the third time.”

Overcome deficits

The Capitals, who have overcome 2-0 and 3-1 series deficits to force the deciding game, know there is still a long ways to go.

“You have to bring up your compete level because Game 7 is do-or-die for both teams,” said Caps forward Nathan Yetman, who is tied with Evan Morrison for a team-leading nine post-season points. “We are going to give them everything we have.”

Capitals goaltender Kyle Michalovsky, who made 32 saves in his first start of the season in Game 6 at the Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre on Saturday night, said the Caps must maintain their focus despite the magnitude of the moment.

“You don’t want to come in too high because they can strike for quick goals and then you are battling from behind,” said Michalovsky. “It’s important that we know there is still a long ways to go, and we have to take it a period at a time.”

Discipline key

Yetman, who is one of the Caps’ top penalty killers, said the Caps cannot afford to give the Tigers any unnecessary power plays. He pointed to the high-scoring line of Malik Johnson, Eddie Banville and Gregor MacLeod, which has combined for 36 points in the first six games.

“They always have chances,” said Yetman, who has sacrificed his body in front of numerous shots this series. “That line is so creative, so fast and is a great line.

“Then you have (David) Chevrier shooting the puck from up top, and we know we have to block shots and put your body on the line.”

Along with Yetman, McGuigan also recognized the penalty-killing efforts of the entire defence along with forwards Morrison, Sam LeBlanc, Josh Pugsley and Morgan MacDonald.

Emotions

McGuigan agreed it will be important for the Caps to manage their emotions.

“We have been working on being in control of our emotions all season,” said McGuigan. “Sometimes young men slip out of that, but we have to be focused through until the end, and no matter what happens stay with it.”

“It’s another hockey game. We have to be prepared to play in it. Obviously, Game 7s are tough and a lot of emotion comes into it. We have to stay focused and stay within our structure, and play right through until the end. It will be do or die for the third time.” Caps head coach Billy McGuigan

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Notebook

Game 7 notebook for Caps and Tigers:

History: The Capitals will host a Game 7 for only the second time since moving to Credit Union Place. The Caps will meet the Campbellton Tigers on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The last time the Caps hosted a Game 7 it was against the Moncton Gagnon Beavers (now Dieppe Commandos) in the 2007 Roger Meek Division final – the year Summerside’s new arena opened.

Close series: This series has been extremely close, with only one lopsided score – the Tigers’ 7-3 win in Game 4. Campbellton won the first two games 6-5 and 5-4 in double overtime while the Caps have three two-goal victories – 4-2, 6-4 and 3-1. However, two of the Caps’ victories were one-goal games with under two minutes remaining in the third period.

Leaders: Going into Monday’s games, the Tigers’ top line of Eddie Banville ( 6-7—13), Malik Johnson (5-7—12) and Gregor MacLeod (3-8—11) were the top three point-getters in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) playoffs. The line has combined for 36 points in six games.

Power plays: One interesting statistic is the Tigers have had 10 more power plays in the series. Campbellton has gone 5-for-28 with the man advantage – 3-for-13 in the three games in Summerside and 2-for-15 in Campbellton. The Caps’ power play is 4-for-18 – 3-for-7 in Summerside and 1-for-11 in Campbellton.

Game-winning goals: Johnson has scored two game-winning goals for the Tigers while Banville has the other. Riley Whittingham, Thomas Stavert and Nathan Yetman have netted game-winning tallies for the Caps.

Attendance: With Caps’ crowds steadily increasing throughout the series, the team’s biggest and loudest crowd in recent years is expected on Tuesday. The Caps have attracted crowds of 1,149, 1,385 and 1,726 for Games 1, 3 and 5.

Quote: “No matter what happens with the series, if we are successful in winning the series obviously great, but if we are not successful in winning it it will be a good experience for Summerside moving forward,” said Tigers head coach Troy Ryan in an interview with the Journal Pioneer before Game 1.

Organizations: Campbellton Tigers, Maritime Junior Hockey League, Credit Union Place Journal Pioneer

Geographic location: Summerside, Campbellton

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