SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals prevailed 9-4 over the Dieppe Commandos in what was predominantly a rookie-laden MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) exhibition game Tuesday night.
Sophomore Matt Myers (2-1), veteran Nathan DesRoches (1-2) and rookie Jeremy Balderston (1-2) led the Capitals with three-point performances.
“It is what it is – an exhibition game with two young lineups,” said Capitals head coach Gordie Dwyer. “The kids competed hard, and it’s always nice to win.”
Along with Myers and DesRoches, Mitchell Hare was the only other Capital dressed who was a regular on last year’s team. Dieppe featured an entirely freshman lineup.
“I wanted to watch a lot of guys individually and see how they fit, watch their compete level and you are basically trying to evaluate players at this level,” said Dwyer.
Before an announced crowd of 564 at Credit Union Place, Hare (1-1), Matt Kelly (1-1), Jordan Costello (1-1), Ryan Collicutt and Morgan Walker also scored for the Capitals. Ross Johnston (2), the younger brother of Capitals forward Will Johnston, Tyler Clair, Isaac Jay and Drew Coulson drew other assists.
Paul Comeau (1-1), Rejean Martin, Kevin Cormier and Alexandre LeBlanc answered for the Commandos. Jordan Court (2), Mathieu LeBlanc, Nick Smith and Garrett Bell assisted.
The Capitals built period leads of 3-0 and 6-3.
Robin Stewart and Logan Reid shared the goaltending win. Stewart stopped 23 of 25 shots through the first half of the game, and Reid made 20 saves on 22 shots over the final 30-plus minutes.
“It is what it is – an exhibition game with two young lineups. The kids competed hard, and it’s always nice to win.” Western Capitals head coach Gordie Dwyer
For Dieppe, Alexandre St-Arnaud allowed three first-period goals on 14 shots, Brandon Decker stopped eight of 11 in the middle frame and Scott Cyr was credited with the loss after granting three goals on 15 shots in the final 20 minutes.
Overall, Dieppe outshot Summerside 47-40, including a 19-11 advantage in the second period.
Referee Tim Hamel called nine minors and one fighting major against the Capitals. The Commandos were whistled for five minors and one fighting major.
The game’s three stars were:
1. Matt Myers (Capitals), 2. Jeremy Balderston (Capitals), 3. Adam Guy (Commandos).
Host Woodstock tonight
The Capitals return to action against the Woodstock Slammers tonight. Game time at Credit Union Place is 7:30, and Dwyer said the Caps will once again feature a youthful roster.
“A lot of these young guys deserve a chance to play in some of these games and show us what they have,” said Dwyer. “We’ll continue to give them an opportunity as long as they deserve it.”