The Capitals made it 12 straight wins with a hard-fought 4-3 road decision over the Yarmouth Mariners on Saturday night.
It was an important win for the Roger Meek Division-leading Capitals, who opened up a nine-point lead over the Mariners in the race for first overall and home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Caps are now 31-6-2-0 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) while Yarmouth, which is the first-place team in the Eastlink Division, fell to 27-8-1-0. The Caps have 64 points while Yarmouth, which has played three fewer games, has 55 points.
Before a full house of 1,501 fans at the Mariner Centre, special teams played a key role in the game as the Caps scored three times on four power-play opportunities, and the Mariners had a 1-for-6 summary with the man advantage.
Colton Parsons, with a power-play goal at 3:11 of the opening period, and Danny Chiasson’s even-strength tally at 14:14 sent the Caps into the first intermission ahead 2-0.
The Mariners answered back in the second period with goals by Colin Campbell (7:39) and Morgan Messenger (10:44) to even the score. However, Justin Rasmussen, who also added an assist for a three-point game, responded with back-to-back power-play goals for the Caps at 12:51 and 15:16 to restore a two-goal lead, 4-2, after 40 minutes.
Jared Hicks connected with the man advantage at 8:28 of the third period to bring the Mariners to within one goal, but Caps goaltender Kevin Bailie shut the door the rest of the way.
After facing 15 shots against Metro and 19 against Miramichi in his first two starts since joining the Caps on Jan. 10, Bailie had a much busier night in Yarmouth. The final shots-on-goal totals were 35-28 in favour of the Mariners, who held 12-9 and 12-8 advantages in the first and third periods.
Travis Wilkins, who attended the Caps’ training camp this season, was between the pipes for the Mariners.
Chris Caissy had a big game for the Caps by chipping in with three assists while other helpers went to Parsons, JP Harvey and Harrison Wood. Kyle Campbell (2), Colin Campbell (1-1), Derek Larade, Zack Henry and Rodney Mahoney collected helpers for the Mariners.
The Caps were assessed nine minor penalties and one checking-from-behind game misconduct. The Mariners picked up seven minors and one 10-minute misconduct.
The game’s three stars were:
1. Justin Rasmussen (Caps), 2. Colton Parsons (Caps), 3. Colin Campbell (Mariners).
The Capitals continue a stretch of five straight road games in Dieppe, N.B., on Thursday night, and then visit the Miramichi Timberwolves on Saturday evening. The Caps’ next home game is against arch-rival Woodstock Slammers on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m.