Josh MacDonald made sure his first game as captain of the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals was a memorable one.
The fact his parents, Aaron and Debra MacDonald, had a ringside seat to the final chapter capped a perfect night for the 19-year-old Cornwall native.
MacDonald scored twice, including the game-winning goal 47 seconds into overtime, to lift the Capitals to a 5-4 victory over the Valley Wildcats on Saturday night.
“It’s the honour to wear the C for any team, especially this organization,” said MacDonald, who is in his fourth season with the Capitals. “It meant the world that coach (Billy) McGuigan had faith in me that I could live up to the guys who have done it in the past. I was happy to make the most of it on Night 1.”
Eastlink Arena was the site of the Capitals’ opening game of the 2020-21 Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) regular season. With restrictions in place for the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Credit Union Place posted on its Twitter page that the game was a sellout.
No attendance figure was announced or listed on the game summary.
In overtime, MacDonald carried the puck from coast to coast before finishing off the play with a highlight-reel deke of Wildcats' goaltender Marcus Pettipas to set off a wild celebration in the corner.
“My parents were right behind the glass in our big scrum in the end, so I turned around and gave them a tap on the glass,” said MacDonald.
The Wildcats gained possession of the puck off the faceoff to start the five-minute extra period. MacDonald said the Caps did not panic, and that discipline prevented Valley from generating a scoring chance.
“We were letting them work it outside in our zone, they turned over the puck, and 3-on-3 is all about possession,” said MacDonald, a second-year kinesiology student at UPEI. “Once we had the puck, I knew if we took off up the ice, I could beat a couple of guys.
“They had a forward who got stuck on the point, and I figured I could make the most of it. I made a move, and it worked out.”
Asked to describe his move on the game-winning goal, MacDonald said, “Toe drag to the backhand side, pulled it across to the forehand and back to the backhand before deking the goaltender.”
The only assist on the game-clinching goal went to Caps' goaltender Mavrick Goyer, who finished with 23 saves.
Luke Wilson scored with 1:31 remaining in regulation time for the Wildcats to force extra time. Ethan Landry, who has family connections to Prince Edward Island, and Dylan Matthews of Mount Albion assisted on Wilson’s goal. Landry, who finished with two assists, was the first-overall pick in the 2020 MHL Entry Draft.
Valley jumped out to a 2-0 lead four minutes into the game, but MacDonald and Cole Edwards scored to tie the game 2-2 heading to the second. The teams were tied 3-3 heading to the third.
A recap of Saturday's game between the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals and the Valley Wildcats:
Summerside – 5
Valley – 4 (OT).
Summerside – Josh MacDonald 2, Cole Edwards, Landon Clow, Ryan Miley.
Valley – Aaron Brown 2, Ethan Kearney, Luke Wilson.
Summerside – Will Proud, Chris McQuaid, Owen Gilhula, Nick Reeves, Austin Arsenault, Colby MacArthur, Jake Kyle.
Valley – Ethan Landry 2, Chad Wilson 2, Dylan Matthews, Dylan Chisholm, Keigan Casey, Blake Deacon.
Summerside – Mavrik Goyer, 23 saves on 27 shots
Valley – Marcus Pettipas, 31 saves on 36 shots.
Period scores – 2-2 and 3-3.
Summerside – 1-for-2.
Valley – 0-for-2.
1. Josh MacDonald, Summerside.
2. Aaron Brown, Valley.
3. Cole Edwards, Summerside.
Summerside – 1-0-0.
Valley – 1-2-1.
McGuigan said MacDonald was a strong candidate for the captaincy, and he received “overwhelming support” in a team vote. He added MacDonald has lots of leadership characteristics.
“Josh is mature beyond his years,” said McGuigan, who described MacDonald as the best penalty killer in the 12-team MHL. “He’s usually the smartest guy in any room, is an intelligent kid, comes from a good family, and he works hard every day. He’d probably like to get more offensive time on the power play and things like that, but he never complains about it and goes out and does his job.”
McGuigan informed MacDonald he was the next team captain in a meeting following Friday’s practice. He agreed MacDonald’s storybook ending Saturday night was a special one.
“Over the run of a career coaching, you have moments when you are especially proud,” said McGuigan. “I am proud of Josh, and he played a great game.
“He scored the opening goal of the game to start us off and scored in overtime on a beautiful effort and beautiful goal. That’s Josh MacDonald. He comes to work every day, he plays on both sides of the puck, and he is there when we need him.”
The Caps travel to Nova Scotia this weekend to face the South Shore Lumberjacks on Friday and the Yarmouth Mariners on Saturday.