Caps begin busy stretch Thursday

Jason Simmonds
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Play two road games before returning home Sunday

SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals begin a stretch of three games in four days against Roger Meek Division opponents on Thursday.

Summerside Western Capitals defenceman Patrick Volpe, 22, positions himself between goaltender Jacob Riley and the Yarmouth Mariners’ Zack Henry, 23, during MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) action at Eastlink Arena earlier this season.

The Capitals visit the Dieppe Commandos at the Arthur J. LeBlanc Arena, and then complete a five-game road trip with a trip to Miramichi, N.B., on Saturday night to face the Timberwolves. The Caps return to Eastlink Arena to play their first home game since Jan. 12 on Sunday, when the Woodstock Slammers visit for a 2 p.m. puck drop.

“Everybody knows the history of the Woodstock Slammers, Summerside Capitals,” said Capitals head coach Bill McGuigan, referring to the fact the two arch-rivals have met in the Roger Meek Division finals the last three years. “It’s going to be a battle.

“This is a team we’re potentially going to face in our division in the playoffs.”

The Capitals, who will take a 12-game winning streak into Dieppe, sit atop the league’s overall standings with a 31-6-2-0 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) record. The Caps are ranked No. 3 in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s top-20 rankings this week.

“Right now, we don’t want to lose another game all year,” said Capitals defenceman Patrick Volpe after being asked if the players are paying much attention to the winning streak.

The Commandos, meanwhile, have won three games in a row.

The Caps are the only team in the Roger Meek Division to have clinched a playoff berth, and hold an 18-point lead over the second-place Slammers (22-13-2-0).

“Right now, we don’t want to lose another game all year." Capitals defenceman Patrick Volpe

Dieppe is third in the division at 19-13-1-3, four points back of Woodstock. Thus, it’s an important game for the Commandos as they try to narrow the gap on the Slammers in the race for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Capitals cannot afford to take the Commandos for granted. Although Summerside has won four of the first five meetings between the two teams, two of those wins came in a shootout while Dieppe’s victory came in overtime.

“They are a hard-working team and they have some real skilled players there like Alex Murray and Zack Cahill,” said McGuigan. “In the top 15 in league scoring, they have three guys (Murray, Cahill, Joel Blanchard).

“They are a team that can score goals, and they like to play on that big ice.”

Chiasson returns

Thursday’s game will also mark the return of former Commando Danny Chiasson to Dieppe. The Capitals acquired Chiasson in a trade just before Christmas.

Chiasson leads the 11-team league in scoring with 63 points, including 22 goals, in 35 regular-season games.

“It’s Chiasson’s first game back in Dieppe, and we really want to get the win for him,” added Volpe.

Organizations: Capitals, Timberwolves, Canadian Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Dieppe, Miramichi, Eastlink Arena

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