Play two important divisional games
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals are hoping December will be as kind to the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) team as November was.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Malik Johnson breaks in all alone on Miramichi Timberwolves goaltender Alex Collette during MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) action at Eastlink Arena on Sept. 22. Johnson, who suffered an injury since Oct. 19, returned to the lineup last weekend.
The Capitals start their December schedule on the road in an important Roger Meek Division clash against the Woodstock Slammers.
The Capitals have won three games in a row, five of their last six and earned 11 of a possible 12 points during that stretch to close to within four points of the third-place Slammers.
“The teams match up well with each other,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman, whose team went 5-1-0-1 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) overall in the month of November. “Both teams have some good young players, and they (Slammers) might have a little bit more experience, especially on the back end. . . It should be a fast game.
“Now that we’ve played them a couple of times, hopefully there is some intensity that starts to form between both teams. I would expect, with us closing the gap a little bit for third place, both teams will want to win that game badly.”
The Slammers are 11-13-1-1 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) and have 24 points while the Caps’ recent hot streak, which includes 4-3 and 5-3 road wins over the Yarmouth Mariners and Valley Wildcats last weekend, has improved their record to 9-11-1-1 for 20 points.
“We are obviously happy we have been able to pull out some victories and get some points on the board,” said Schurman. “We are still looking to keep developing good habits and make sure we play our game, whether we are up or down.”
“We are obviously happy we have been able to pull out some victories and get some points on the board. We are still looking to keep developing good habits and make sure we play our game, whether we are up or down.” Caps head coach Tim Schurman
Back home Sunday
The Capitals will play their first home game at Eastlink Arena since Nov. 16 on Sunday against the Campbellton Tigers in another important divisional matchup. The Caps go into Friday’s play eight points up on the Tigers for the final playoff berth.
“They (Tigers) want to do everything they can to get back into a playoff spot, and we want to do everything we can to open up a gap between us,” said Schurman. “Both teams should be ready to go, and it should be a pretty good game.”
Sunday will mark the home debuts of four Capitals – forwards Blake Millman of Alberton and Maxim Pitre along with defencemen Brett Doiron of St. Ann’s and recent free-agent signee Phillipe Richard.
Millman, Pitre and Doiron were acquired in three separate trades last week.
As well, defenceman Cavan Fitzgerald and Malik Johnson both returned to the lineup from injuries in Yarmouth last weekend. It was Fitzgerald’s first game since Nov. 3 and Johnson saw his first action since Oct. 19.
Schurman added that newly-named team captain Jordan Buchanan is expected to miss this weekend’s games with an injury.