Crushers, Ramblers visit Eastlink Arena
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals will close out a seven-game homestand against a pair of Eastlink Division teams here at Eastlink Arena this weekend.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Alex Bradley in action with the Summerside Western Capitals during MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) action at Eastlink Arena.
The Pictou County Weeks Crushers are scheduled to visit on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with the Amherst Ramblers providing the opposition on Sunday at 2 p.m.
“They (Crushers and Ramblers) are two of the better teams in the league,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman. “Pictou is first overall and it will be their first game after the trade deadline (on Friday). . .
“They will be looking to make a statement that they have a team they are going to make a run with. They are always tough and we played them hard the last time we met them over there (losing in overtime). . .
“Amherst is a big physical team and has added some offence.”
The Crushers are 23-5-0-4 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses), good enough for 50 points. The Ramblers are fourth at 20-10-0-1 while the Caps continue to cling to the final playoff spot in the Roger Meek Division at 10-17-2-1. The Caps, who have played three fewer games, are three points ahead of the Campbellton Tigers (9-22-1-1).
The Capitals have earned just three out of a possible 10 points in the first five games of the homestand on one win and an overtime loss.
Schurman said fans could see some different line combinations this weekend in an effort to shake things up.
“We are looking to move a couple of guys around to come up with three lines that can provide a little bit of offence, and take some pressure off our top two lines,” said Schurman. “We are being led scoring-wise by a lot of our younger guys.
“We are trying to get a more balanced attack up front.”
One option, Schurman said, is have Malik Johnson and Maxim Pitre play together.
“They (Crushers and Ramblers) are two of the better teams in the league. Pictou is first overall and it will be their first game after the trade deadline (on Friday). . . They will be looking to make a statement that they have a team they are going to make a run with. They are always tough and we played them hard the last time we met them over there (losing in overtime). . . Amherst is a big physical team and has added some offence.” Caps head coach Tim Schurman
“They are both Quebec guys, they are friends and talk a lot off the ice and we want to see if there is any chemistry there that can be translated onto the ice,” said Schurman. “If it doesn’t work, we’ll go with whatever we think will work.”
Summerside Western Capitals’ notebook:
Right-handed-shooting defenceman Lucas Blomquist is expected to make his debut with the Capitals on Saturday night. He was acquired from the Crushers for future considerations on Dec. 1.
The Crushers are the only MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s top-20 rankings this week. The New Glasgow, N.S.-based Crushers are No. 19.
Saturday’s game will mark the return of former Capitals forward and co-captain JP Harvey and defenceman Harrison Wood to Summerside.
Amherst forward and former Capital Brock Morrison is the MHL’s fourth-leading scorer. Morrison has 38 points, including 15 goals, in 30 games.
Rookie Alex Bradley leads the Capitals in scoring with 29 points in 30 regular-season games. Bradley has 13 goals and 16 assists.
After Sunday’s game, the Caps will play four straight on the road and will not play at home again until Sunday, Jan. 26.
The Capitals are 6-9-1 (won-lost-overtime losses) at home in regular-season play.
The Capitals are averaging 633 fans through their first 16 regular-season home games.