The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Western Capitals will start each round of the playoffs on home ice this spring.
The Caps, ranked second in the country this week, won their sixth straight game with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Edmundston Blizzard Thursday at Credit Union Place. The victory clinched first place in the regular season and gives them another Maritime Junior Hockey League banner.
“It’s a good feeling,” said goalie Dominik Tmej. “We wanted home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. … It’s always nice to start at home. It’s a great accomplishment for the organization and we hope to bring it home this year.”
It is the Capitals’ second straight regular season title, but they have their sights set on a larger goal.
“We’ve been in this situation before,” captain Brodie MacArthur said. “This year, we’re hoping to get past the first and second rounds and win it all.”
MacArthur did his part Thursday, as he done throughout his career.
He had a goal and an assist as the game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 heading to the third.
Isaac Chapman gave the visitors the lead 2:43 into the third, but the Caps didn’t quit.
Colby MacArthur tied it 6:17 into the period and the Caps had a few chances to win it in regulation and overtime but couldn’t beat Blizzard goalie Marc-Antoine Berube-Jalbert.
“It was a lacklustre game, I think, from both side and we just found a way to win at the end,” Capitals’ head coach Billy McGuigan said. “Our motto here all year is the third period is going to be our best period and it was here again tonight. We dug in after they scored, and we found a way to get back in the game and then win it in the shootout.”
LeCouffe scores pic.twitter.com/crUBOtm09Z— Guardian Sports (@SportsGuardian) February 21, 2020
The Caps’ second shooter, Marc-Andre LeCouffe, beat Berube-Jalbert and then Tmej stopped Jeremy Duguay to clinch the victory.
“I tried to wait him out and see what he would do,” Tmej explained. “Once he went glove, I knew there was anything to shoot at … so I knew I had him.”
It didn't come as a surprise to the captain.
“We see it every day in practice,” he said. “He’s been the best goalie in the league for three years straight. … We’re extremely confident when he’s in the net.”
With his two points Thursday, MacArthur had 351 career points heading into Friday’s game in Grand Falls, N.B. It put him one point back of Duane Saulnier for the league’s all-time record.
MacArthur said he doesn’t think about it much, but acknowledged it has been brought up recently.
“I’ve been playing with unbelievable players since I (came) here and have got all opportunities so it’s pretty cool that it’s come to this at the end,” he said.
“He’s making history and everyone is proud of him,” Tmej said.