The Capitals downed the Miramichi Timberwolves 8-2 on Thursday night to take a 3-0 stranglehold in the best-of-seven Roger Meek Division semifinal series. The Caps will go for the sweep at the Miramichi Civic Centre on Saturday night.
“We don’t want to lose a game in the playoffs, and we wanted to go back to Miramichi on Saturday up 3-0,” said centre Danny Chiasson, who led the Capitals with three goals and two assists.
Before 1,164 fans at Eastlink Arena, the Caps led 1-0 after the first period, and then scored five unanswered goals in the middle frame to take full control.
Captain Scott Trask’s power-play goal at the 31-second mark made it 2-0, and then Chiasson (9:29), Justin Rasmussen (10:15) and Chris Caissy (10:31) scored three goals in just over a minute to open up a 5-0 cushion.
Danny Wicks’ power-play goal at 13:46 got the Timberwolves on the board. Trask (19:15) and Miramichi’s Rankyn Campbell (19:47) then exchanged goals in the final minute of the period. The Caps went into the second intermission up 6-1.
“We turned on our second gear in the second period, and when we play like that there is no team that is going to beat us,” said Chiasson. “I give credit to Miramichi, they are playing hard.”
And Chiasson acknowledged the Capitals have to be ready to play Saturday night, or they could find themselves playing a Game 5 at home on Monday night.
“We have to bring that same effort we had in the second period because Miramichi is not going to give up,” Chiasson added.
Final two goals
Colton Parsons (3:42) and Chiasson (15:09), with his third of the night, rounded out the game’s scoring in the third period.
Chiasson said the Caps’ second-period offensive outburst was the result of improved play in the neutral and defensive zones.
“We started winning some battles and moving the puck quicker,” said Chiasson. “The first three goals in the second period were all a result of turnovers in the neutral zone, and we moved the puck quicker and we scored.”
Chiasson said his linemates, Caissy and JP Harvey, played a big role in his offensive production.
“I had to step it up,” said Chiasson, who had scored one goal in the first two games of the series. “We worked hard and won battles down low.”
Spencer MacDonald (3), Harvey (2), Caissy (2), Trask, Jason Seed, Alex Gallant, Mitch Maynard and Patrick Volpe contributed assists for the Caps.
Billy Gaston (2), Campbell and Patrick Byrne drew helpers for the Timberwolves.
Kevin Bailie turned aside 32 of 34 shots to earn the goaltending win. Julien Daigle faced 46 shots in the Miramichi cage.
Referee Tim Hamel called five minors and one 10-minute misconduct against the Capitals. The Timberwolves picked up four minors and one 10-minute misconduct.
The game’s three stars were:
1. Danny Chiasson (Caps), 2. Scott Trask (Caps), 3. Kevin Bailie (Caps).