Positive steps for Caps

Jason Simmonds
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Taken during first half of 2013-14 regular season

SUMMERSIDE – Although the Summerside Western Capitals are seven games under .500, there were lots of positive steps taken during the first half of the 2013-14 regular season, says head coach Tim Schurman.

Goaltender Simon-Pier Chamberland has recorded a 6-8-2 (won-lost-overtime/shootout losses) record, a 3.53 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage with the Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).

“A lot of our younger guys were getting used to junior A hockey, and a lot of them were getting used to living away from home for the first time, and a new environment like some of them were at new schools,” said Schurman, head coach of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) team. “The last 15, 16 games of the first half, we came around, we got some wins and were in a lot of games.

“We cut down on our goals-against, and gave ourselves a chance to win a lot of hockey games, which was nice. A lot of our younger guys progressed quite a bit, and now we’re looking for them to be leaders on the team.”

A look at the Caps’ team stats illustrates the development of the young players. Sophomore Thomas Stavert leads the team with 24 points, including 16 goals, while rookies Alex Bradley and Brad Power are tied for second with 23 points each. All three have played 27 regular-season games.

“Those are guys who could have long careers here,” said Schurman. “(Rookie goaltender) Alex Kelly (of Kensington) hasn’t started a whole lot of games, but when he has he has given us a chance to win those games.

“On the point, Cavan Fitzgerald and Joey Colatarci are playing against the top lines every night, and they are 18- and 17-years-old. There is a lot of optimism from a team standpoint.

“A lot of our younger guys were getting used to junior A hockey, and a lot of them were getting used to living away from home for the first time, and a new environment like some of them were at new schools. The last 15, 16 games of the first half, we came around, we got some wins and were in a lot of games. We cut down on our goals-against, and gave ourselves a chance to win a lot of hockey games, which was nice. A lot of our younger guys progressed quite a bit, and now we’re looking for them to be leaders on the team.” Capitals head coach Tim Schurman

“We like what we see from our younger guys, which allowed us to move some of our more veteran guys and we got some good return for them.”

However, two veterans who have really stepped up since being acquired since the start of the regular season, noted Schurman, are goaltender Simon-Pier Chamberland and defenceman and assistant captain Mitchell Henneberry.

“When we were able to bring in Simon and Mitch, both were stabilizing factors,” said Schurman. “Both are very underrated, and both came in and have done a very good job for us to date.

“They have some experience and are both excellent players at their positions. That helped us a lot that we could play those guys a lot against some of the better teams and spot our younger guys and try to get them in spots where they can be successful rather than having young players playing against the other teams’ top lines. They are two really good guys in the dressing room, too.”

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

Organizations: MHL, Maritime Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: Kensington

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