The Caps, who last played in Campbellton on Feb. 13, will play back-to-back home games against two of the upper-echelon teams in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
The Caps’ longtime nemesis, Woodstock Slammers, visits Eastlink Arena on Saturday for a 7 p.m. start, and the Eastlink Division-leading Yarmouth Mariners provide the opposition for a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m.
“It’s the biggest weekend of the year for our team,” said Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan. “It’s coming at a good time.
“We have six games left in the season three weeks before the end of it. It’s real good timing for us to play two real tough games, and then make adjustments that we need to make in the next couple of weeks. It’s good to get those tests.”
The Capitals, who have clinched first place in the Roger Meek Division, are the overall leaders in the 11-team league at 37-7-2-0 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses). The Slammers, who are second in the Meek Division and fifth overall, take a 26-15-2-2 mark into Friday night’s game against the Miramichi Timberwolves.
Meanwhile, the Mariners hold a two-point lead over the Truro Bearcats for top spot in the Eastlink Division. Yarmouth, which visits Truro on Saturday night, is 34-8-2-1 while the Bearcats are 32-9-0-5.
“It’s the biggest weekend of the year for our team. It’s coming at a good time. We have six games left in the season three weeks before the end of it. It’s real good timing for us to play two real tough games, and then make adjustments that we need to make in the next couple of weeks. It’s good to get those tests.” - Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan
The Caps hold a five-point lead over Yarmouth and a seven-point bulge over Truro in the race for first overall. Thus, Sunday’s game is a big one as the Caps can open up some breathing room over the Mariners with a regulation-time win. Meanwhile, a win for the Mariners will be equally important in closing the gap.
“The two points for either team will be big,” said McGuigan. “We have wrapped up our division and we are very happy about that.
“We have to take it round by round in the playoffs, but it would be nice to have home-ice advantage all the way through.”
The Capitals, who have seen their crowds increase as the season has progressed, are expecting two more big gatherings at Eastlink Arena this weekend. The Caps are averaging 1,199 fans through 23 regular-season home games. That is good enough for second in the league behind Yarmouth, which is averaging 1,383 fans.