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Summerside’s junior A team opens 2019-20 regular season with a tough test on the road
The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals will raise the curtain on the 2019-20 Maritime Junior Hockey League regular season in a very tough environment on Saturday.
The Capitals will take on the Amherst Ramblers at the Amherst Stadium at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on Eastlink Community Television.
“It’s pretty exciting to get back at it, especially after the disappointing end to last year,” said Caps’ third-year forward Cam Roberts, referring to a six-game series loss to the Campbellton Tigers in the Eastlink North Division final. “We are hungry and want to get back at it.”
The Capitals, coming off a league-best 40-8-1-1 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) record last year, enter the season with a mixture of key returnees and new faces. The Caps will open the season with 20 players – two goaltenders, seven defencemen and 11 forwards – and were ranked 16th in the first Canadian Junior Hockey League national rankings released earlier this month.
“There was not a whole lot of decisions to be made with our hockey club,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “We like our hockey club the way it is here.”
On the road
The Caps, who play their first five games on the road before hosting the Yarmouth Mariners in their home opener on Sept. 28, posted a 4-1 pre-season record. That included winning the Battle of the Bridge tournament in Summerside and a 4-2 come-from-behind road win over the Ramblers.
“Even the pre-season games in the Battle of the Bridge, we battled back and showed some push-back there,” said McGuigan. “I really like the character of our group to start the season.
“There is no better test than to go into Amherst for its home opener and see that type of atmosphere. It’s tough for young kids, it will be an exciting game, it’s a small rink and it’s going to be less space than they are used to.”
The Amherst Stadium, known for its boisterous fans and a cozy atmosphere, is one of the toughest arenas in the 12-team league for visiting teams to play.
“They call it ‘The Jungle’ for a reason,” said the 19-year-old Roberts, who is from Kensington. “For the rookies, it will be a good taste of what junior hockey is about.
“There’s lots of hitting and it’s really fast and there’s no better place to play than the ‘The Jungle.’”
Forward Marc Richard of Clinton is entering his second campaign with the Caps and is looking to improve on his eight goals and 11 assists in 49 regular-season games.
“I’m really looking forward to this year and what it has to bring,” said Richard, 16. “Last year, I had a little bit of a slow start transitioning in from midget.
“This year, I’m feeling ready to go and feeling like this will be my year and I just want to show it to everyone.”
First full season
Capitals forward Colby MacArthur of Summerside is looking forward to his first full season with the Caps. MacArthur played 11 games with the Caps last season before returning to the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild and recorded 56 points, including 21 goals, in 29 regular-season games.
“It’s going to be great to get it going,” said MacArthur, 17. “Definitely playing a few games last year helped me understand the speed of the game.”
To elaborate on that point, the younger brother of Caps captain Brodie MacArthur added, “I am definitely going to not take that extra second making plays and you have to think before you get the puck.”
Summerside Western Capitals’ season-opening roster:
1. Dominik Tmej
30. Alex MacVicar
2. Theo Citrullo
3. Isaac Wilson
4. Ed McNeill
5. Brodie MacMillan
6. Zach Biggar
7. Jacob Arsenault
24. Gianluca Fuoco
9. Bennett MacArthur
10. Kallum Muirhead
12. Colby MacArthur
14. Zach Thususka
15. Riley MacDougall
19. Cam Roberts
27. Brodie MacArthur
28. Josh MacDonald
42. Marc-Andre LeCouffe
77. Nick Reeves
79. Marc Richard
- Upcoming Games
- Summerside Western Capitals’ upcoming games:
- Saturday, Sept. 14
- 7 p.m. – Caps at Amherst.
- Friday, Sept. 20
- 7:30 p.m. – Caps at Edmundston.
- Saturday, Sept. 21
- 7 p.m. – Caps at Fredericton.
- Sunday, Sept. 22
- 3 p.m. – Caps at Grand Falls.
- Thursday, Sept. 26
- 7 p.m. – Caps at Miramichi.
- Saturday, Sept. 28
- 7 p.m. – Yarmouth at Caps.
- Friday, Oct. 4
- 7:30 p.m. – Caps at Grand Falls.
- Saturday, Oct. 5
- 7 p.m. – Pictou County at Caps.
- Thursday, Oct. 10
- 7 p.m. – South Shore at Caps.
- Saturday, Oct. 12
- 7 p.m. – Edmundston at Caps.