Teams meet again in Campbellton on Wednesday
SUMMERSIDE – The Campbellton Tigers have put themselves in a position to make things interesting in the MHL’s (Maritime Junior Hockey League) playoff race.
The Tigers picked up a well-deserved 5-3 road victory over the Summerside Western Capitals on Sunday afternoon. The win moved the Tigers to within six points of the Capitals for the fourth and final post-season berth in the Roger Meek Division.
The Tigers have an opportunity to move closer to the Caps on Wednesday night, when the teams meet in the back end of a home-and-home series in Campbellton, N.B.
“We don’t want to put too much emphasis on playoff positioning, but everybody is well aware of our position compared to theirs,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman. “We gave up a big two points today, but we also know it’s even bigger on Wednesday.”
It was a tough weekend for the Capitals, who were looking to close to within two points of the third-place Woodstock Slammers on Friday night. The Caps led Woodstock 3-2 through two periods, but the Slammers answered with four third-period goals for a 6-3 win.
Then on Sunday, the Tigers built period leads of 3-1 and 4-1 and never trailed despite being outshot 38-29.
“You have to give Campbellton credit,” said Schurman. “They (Tigers) came in here, played a strong road game and took advantage of the fact we didn’t have much energy in the first two periods.”
Before an announced crowd of 608 fans at Eastlink Arena, Keenan Kennedy scored two goals to lead the Tigers, who improved to 6-19-1-1 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses). Francis Bernier (1-1), David Budgell and Mark Jeffery, with an empty-net goal at 19:31 of the third period, rounded out Campbellton’s scoring.
Alex White (2), Francis Savoie (2), Patrick Durgy, Patrick Bourgault and winning goaltender Miguel Sullivan.
Brad Power, Isaac Jay and Zen Hamil replied for the Capitals (9-13-1-1). Alex Bradley (2), Blaize Bridges (2), Joey Coliatarci and Cavan Fitzgerald chipped in with helpers.
Simon-Pier Chamberland started in goal for the Capitals, but was relieved by rookie Alex Kelly following the Tigers’ fourth goal at 8:27 of the second period. Chamberland gave up four goals on 15 shots.
“Simon has been excellent for us the last two months, or for however long it’s been since he got here,” said Schurman. “He (Chamberland) was left out to dry a few times tonight (Sunday). It wasn’t his fault, and I know he will be ready to go Wednesday night in Campbellton.”
“We don’t want to put too much emphasis on playoff positioning, but everybody is well aware of our position compared to theirs. We gave up a big two points today, but we also know it’s even bigger on Wednesday.” Capitals head coach Tim Schurman
One area the Caps will be looking to improve on Wednesday is reducing the number of odd-man rushes for the Tigers.
“We got in trouble the first couple of periods with them blocking a couple of point shots,” offered Schurman. “We have to do a better job of getting (the shots) through.
“Once you hit shin pads you are trouble because your three forwards are usually below that (blue-line). Any odd-man rushes they got later in the game (third period) was because we were pushing the tempo.”
The game’s three stars were:
1. Keenan Kennedy (Tigers), 2. Francis Bernier (Tigers), 3. Blaize Bridges (Capitals).
Referee Mike Annear called four minors against each team. The Tigers also picked up one 10-minute misconduct.
The Capitals’ next home game is against the Bridgewater Lumberjacks on Sunday. The opening faceoff is set for 2 p.m.