He even expected they’d win. But did they expect the outcome they got?
McGuigan and his Summerside Western Capitals came out of the gate flying on Sunday and didn’t look back, as they stormed their way to a 7-0 victory over the Yarmouth Mariners.
“It was a game that we wanted to win, battling for first overall in the league,” he said. “I thought we did all the right things and played and stuck up for each other. It was a real team effort.”
For the entire first period the ice seemed to be tilted in Summerside’s favour.
Jonathan Aubertin opened up the scoring for the Capitals at 6:38 with a snapshot from the left circle that handcuffed Mariners’ goalie Travis Wilkins.
Danny Chiasson would add his first of the game six minutes later when he shot one off a Yarmouth defender and in.
The Caps took to the powerplay late in the period and would extend their lead to 3-0 when a broken play in front of the Mariners’ goal led to a short two-on-none with JP Harvey netting his first of the game.
After one period of play, Summerside outshot Yarmouth 13-2.
After back and forth play for most of the second period, Capitals forward Christopher Caissy netted his 24th of the season at 15:18 with assists from Patrick Volte and Justin Rasmussen.
Shortly after, Caps rookie and Summerside native Jordan Buchanan drew an excited roar from the crowd, dropping the gloves with Mariners forward Brandon Bussey. Giving up five inches and 43 pounds to his opponent, Buchanan held his own. Neither player put up much of a guard, with both landing big right hands. Each got five for fighting.
Another melee ensued just over a minute later, when Yarmouth’s Matt Tomah was called for a hit to the head. Caps goaltender Kevin Bailie sprung from his net, throwing gloved punches at Tomah. At one point, all five players from each side were engaged, with Tomah and Capitals defenseman MacKenzie Braid dropping the gloves. Wilkins lingered just inside his blue line as officials contained Bailie and returned him to his net.
The onslaught would continue on an ensuing powerplay, with captain Scott Trask extending the lead to 5-0, banging one in at the side of the net before leaping into the glass.
The third period saw much of the same one-sided action, with Harvey making it 6-0 on a sweet feed from Colton Parsons. Coming into the offensive zone, Parsons attempted to slam on the brakes and cut back, before falling to his stomach. From the ice, he managed to hook the puck across to Harvey, who promptly potted his second of the night.
Chiasson would add another with six minutes to play to cement the final score at 7-0.
Chiasson, the game’s first star, Caissy and Parsons led the way for Summerside with three points each, but McGuigan said it was an all-round effort that led to the win.
“You need 20 guys every given night to win in this league and we’re getting the effort from all those guys.
It was a big weekend for Parsons, who scored the game-winner against Woodstock on Saturday in a 4-3 victory before the hometown crowd.
“Colton Parsons is a point-per-game player in this league, he’s a great kid and he’s been awesome for us this year,” McGuigan said.
Announced attendance at Sunday’s game, played at Credit Union Place’s Eastlink Arena, was 1,446. Shots on goal were 26-21 in the Caps’ favour.
The win was the fifth straight for the Capitals, and moved them to eight points above Yarmouth for the top spot in the league.
They’ll be on the road next Friday in Miramichi, before heading to Amherst Saturday for a weekend home-and-home with the Ramblers. Sunday’s home game will be the last of the regular season for the Capitals.