Caps down Crushers, Chamberland posts 37 saves for shutout

Ryan Cooke
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SUMMERSIDE - As if 37 saves and a shutout wasn’t enough, Simon-Pier Chamberland decided to tack on an assist in the final minute to cap off a first star performance on Saturday night, as the Summerside Western Capitals blanked the Weeks Crushers 3-0.

 

Chamberland was a rock in goal as his team came together in front of him, despite trading veteran defenseman Harrison Wood to the Crushers on Monday.

With a flurry of trades this season constantly making the team younger and younger, Chamberland does his best to be a steady hand. He did so again on Saturday.

“(Trades) aren’t something I can worry about too much,” he said. “I’ve got a lot of great kids in front of me every night. I have a lot of respect for the guys and I believe in them… They made my job a lot easier tonight.”

The trust was certainly mutual, as the Caps calmly took a 2-0 lead over the Crushers into the final minute, before Cavan Fitzgerald sealed things with a 125-foot empty netter.

The game got off to a hot start, with both teams piling on shots in the first period. Scoreless after one, Summerside held a 14-9 shot advantage over Weeks.

Just 2:59 into the second period, however, the Caps would get on the board. Second-year forward, Thomas Stavert, took a pass from David Sweet and streaked down the right side, snapping a shot high-blocker on Crushers’ goalie Brandon Thibeau.

The Caps would hold the lead through the second period, despite being outshot 16-9 in the frame.

The home team would get on the board early again in third period, when Weeks’ Garret Holmes took a checking-to-the-head penalty, along with a series of misconducts, to put the Caps on the powerplay. Malik Johnson took a feed in front from Brad Power and slid it home for the 2-zip lead.

The Caps then went into defend mode, often stymying Weeks’ attacks with a full line waiting at the offensive blue line. Caps captain Jordan Buchanan, in his first game back since fracturing his ankle on Nov. 15, logged big minutes in the final frame. Despite being fresh off an injury, Buchanan didn’t change a thing. The rugged five-foot-eight Summerside native played his game, even dropping to block a point shot midway through the third, deflecting it out of play off his ankle.

“That was my good leg,” Buchanan chuckled after the game, noting that injuries can’t scare him away from the puck. “You try not to think about it when you’re on the ice, with the adrenaline pumping and all.”

After the game, leading scorer Brad Power commented on what it was like to go head-to-head against Wood, just days after the trade.

“It’s definitely tough, you know, Wood played here for three years and he was a good buddy of mine. Hate to see him go, but you’ve got to move on, and tonight it seemed like it was a positive for us.”

With pieces of the team ever-changing, head coach Tim Schurman hopes the win will resonate with his players, and serve as a building block for games to come.

“Tonight was a great example of what we’ve been preaching all season, and that’s an all-in team effort,” he said. “We preach it all the time, but sometimes it takes a few tries for it to sink in. Hopefully this will get the guys to realize that we can compete with better teams when everyone is involved.”

The Caps will have a quick turnaround, as they are back in action Sunday afternoon against the Amherst Ramblers with a 2 p.m. puck drop. Announced attendance for Saturday’s game was 843. 

Geographic location: Summerside

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