Big week for Western Capitals

Jason Simmonds
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Team earns five of possible six points on the road

SUMMERSIDE – One of the things that can easily be lost in the shuffle of Saturday night’s bizarre finish in Yarmouth, N.S., is that it was a very successful week for the Summerside Western Capitals.

Summerside Western Capitals

The rookie-laden team completed a stretch of three road games in four days with a 5-4 shootout win over the hometown Mariners before over 1,400 fans. That victory gave the Capitals five of a possible six points during the stretch, which opened with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Roger Meek Division-leading Miramichi Timberwolves on Wednesday and included a 4-2 win over Bridgewater on Friday.

Saturday’s game ended in controversial fashion. With the Mariners leading the shootout 1-0, the Capitals’ Thomas Stavert, who was the third and final shooter of the first round, struck iron. The Mariners thought it was no goal, celebrated the victory and the three stars were announced, but the officials ruled the puck did enter the net. . . meaning the shootout would proceed into sudden-death shots.

After the Mariners’ Justin Rasmussen missed for Yarmouth, Alex Bradley scored the winner for the Capitals.

“To be honest, from our standpoint, we didn’t really know what was going on,” said Caps head coach Tim Schurman in explaining the bizarre finish. “Any time you see the other team going out on the ice to celebrate, the first thing you think is the game is over.

“But the ref signalled a goal right away, and whether or not it went in is not for us to decide. On some angles it looks like it’s in, and there are people who say it was in.

“It’s not our decision, the refs made a call on the ice, that’s what they’re paid to do and that’s their job.”


Closing gap

The win improved the Caps’ record to 13-18-2-2 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses). The Caps now hold a 10-point lead over the Campbellton Tigers (9-25-1-1) for the final playoff berth in the Roger Meek Division, but have quietly crept to within seven points of third-place Woodstock (17-16-2-1).

“Hockey can be a strange game sometimes, and sometimes a break goes with you and sometimes it goes against you.” Caps head coach Tim Schurman

The Capitals visit the Tigers on Friday, and host Woodstock on Sunday at 2 p.m.


Overcome four-goal deficit

Also lost in the shuffle from Saturday’s game is the fact the Caps overcame a 4-0 deficit, capped by Maxim Pitre’s equalizer with 34 seconds remaining in regulation time.

“We were able to match them physically, and really took the play to them for the last two periods,” assessed Schurman.

Schurman admitted he was never involved in a game that ended like that.

“Hockey can be a strange game sometimes, and sometimes a break goes with you and sometimes it goes against you,” added Schurman.


Big weekend for Kelly

Another bright spot for the Capitals last week was the play of rookie goaltender Alex Kelly, who was the goaltender of record in all three games after taking over from an injured Simon-Pier Chamberland early in the first period against Miramichi.

Kelly stopped 32 shots against Yarmouth.

“Alex has been great,” said Schurman. “For a 17-year-old guy to come into a tough league for a goaltender, he’s had a very solid year.

“He’s a gamer and wants to play all the time, but he understands his role as the back-up. . . He’s getting some valuable minutes in the net, and it all leads to him becoming our No. 1 goaltender down the road.”


Power injured

The Capitals lost rookie forward Brad Power for what is expected to be four to six weeks with a broken jaw. Power, who was hit in the face with a puck in the third period and came back to finish the game, was scheduled to have surgery on Sunday.

Organizations: Capitals, Mariners, Campbellton Tigers

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