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Shea shoots path to MHL awards

TJ Shea of the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals skates with the puck in a recent MHL game in Summerside. The league awards Shea, a Tignish native, the player of the year and scoring champion awards.
TJ Shea of the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals skates with the puck in a recent MHL game in Summerside. The league awards Shea, a Tignish native, the player of the year and scoring champion awards. - Jason Simmonds

Western Caps players win three Maritime junior A awards

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - The MHL (Maritime Junior A Hockey League) released award winners for the 2017-18 regular season and three Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals made the list.

TJ Shea won the player of the year and scoring champion honours, Dominik Tmej took home the goaltender of the year and Jordan Spence was rookie of the year.

Shea, a 19-year-old from Tignish native, led the league during the regular season in goals scored (43) and assists (62) for 105 points, the highest total for a player in the league in 13 years and the first in seven seasons to reach the century mark in total points. 

Shea was held off the scoresheet four times in 48 games played while also reeling off a nearly four month long, 33-game point streak in the process. He posted 35 multi-point games while being named first star of the month three times. 

He was also named the CJHL first star of the month for January. Shea, who won the MHL scoring title by 16 points, played a pivotal role in the Caps’ league-leading offence.

Although he didn’t suit up for an MHL game until November, the 18-year-old Tmej made the most of his time between the pipes as the Bradenton, Fla., native, reeled off a 17-2 record to go with a 2.06 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage. 

Tmej boasted individual winning streaks of seven and six games, respectively, and posted six shutouts on the year in 22 total appearances.His consistent play was an integral part in Summerside’s 17-4 record since early January and helped propel the club to a solid second place finish in the Eastlink North Division.

Having a player in his 16-year-old season lead the league in rookie scoring is rare so having a defenceman do it is even rarer. Such was the case for Spence, who topped all rookies with 52 points in 50 games. His 39 assists led all blue-liners – not just rookies – in that category. 

Not only was Spence’s feat a rare event, the impact it had on the Western Capitals’ charge through the league during the 2018 calendar year made it all the more important. During that timeframe, Spence recorded 10 multi-point games. 

The Cornwall rearguard, who turned 17 last month, was also named the league’s rookie of the month for November. Spence, who spent last season with the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride in the N.B.-P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League, was selected by the Capitals in the third round of the 2017 MHL draft.

Defenceman of the year went to  Mitchell Kreis of the Miramichi Timberwolves, the year’s character player was earned by Campbell Pickard of the Truro Bearcats, while Kevin Resop and Alec MacDonald of the Bearcats combined for the Young/Knickle Award for top goaltending duo during the regular season.  

Laurie Barron of the Yarmouth Mariners earned coach of the year.

The Caps start the playoffs Thursday by hosting the Campbellton Tigers. Game 1 in the best-of-seven Eastlink North Division semifinal is 7 p.m. at Credit Union Place.

The MHL all-star and rookie all-star teams for 2017-18

All-Stars

Goaltender - Dominik Tmej, Summeside.

Defence - Mitchell Kreis, Miramichi; Pierre-Luc Lurette, Campbellton.

Left Wing - Kyle Ward, Edmundston, Brodie MacArthur, Summerside (tie).

Centre - Jordan King, Amherst, Campbell Pickard, Truro (tie).

Right Wing - TJ Shea, Summerside

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Rookie All—Stars

Goaltender - Cole McLaren, Valley

Defence - Jordan Spence, Summerside; Curtis Heffernan, Jack McGovern, Truro (tie).

Left Wing - Maxime Grandmaison, Edmundston.

Centre - Liam Leonard, Edmundston.

Right Wing - Brent Broaders, Yarmouth.

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