Caps look to get back on winning track

Jason Simmonds
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In back-to-back weekend contests

SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals will look to get back on the winning track in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) this weekend.

Maxim Pitre, 11, of the Summerside Western Capitals looks to get a shot off while being defended by Tim Rose of the Woodstock Slammers during Tuesday night’s MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) game at Eastlink Arena. The Slammers won the game 4-3.

The Capitals visit the Pictou County Weeks Crushers on Saturday night, and return home to Eastlink Arena for a Sunday matinee against the Bridgewater Lumberjacks at 2 p.m.

The Capitals are looking to snap a modest two-game losing streak after back-to-back one-goal losses on home ice earlier this week. The Crushers edged the Caps 3-2 in an Islander Day contest on Monday, and the Woodstock Slammers pulled out a 4-3 win on Tuesday.

“Sometimes when you suffer a loss against a team it’s nice to get another crack at them right away,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman in looking ahead to Saturday’s rematch with the Crushers. “Obviously, we have a lot of respect for Pictou, they are a veteran group over there with a lot of talent.

“I thought we pretty much went head-to-head with them for the majority of the game. We started a bit slow, but once we found our legs we gave them a good battle. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to tie it up late in the game.”

The Capitals go into weekend action at 18-22-2-3 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses) while the Crushers are second in the Eastlink Division at 30-10-0-5. The Lumberjacks, meanwhile, have just three wins in 44 regular-season games. But one of those wins came in Summerside back in the fall.

“Bridgewater has had their struggles this year, but they are a group that seems to have a lot of pride in their game and have been playing a lot better,” said Schurman. “We are not going to take them lightly by any means.

“At this time of the year, we are looking to get a couple of points on the board and continue to build on some of the positives we are seeing for the playoffs, which will be starting here in less than a month.”

Close games

One thing the Capitals have treated their fans to in 2014 is close games, including five straight one-goal decisions.

“Pretty much every game has been right down to the wire,” said Schurman. “It’s good for everybody, and it shows we can take some of these top teams right down to the wire.

“We’ve also proven we have the ability to pull some of these games out, and confidence-wise it should help us down the stretch.”

Prepare for playoffs

With the Capitals all but locked into fourth place in the Roger Meek Division – they trail third-place Woodstock by 10 points – what is Schurman looking for over the final seven regular-season games?

“I feel we’ve established a hard-working group of guys that have come to play pretty well every night,” said Schurman. “Still with a lot of youth, 60 minutes can be a bit of challenge effort-wise, but I feel the majority of our games for the last month for sure we are certainly battling very hard and fighting for every inch we are getting.

“We are looking for that to continue and we will be looking to probably make a few tweaks system-wise, just maybe some things we may look at using come playoff time.”

Organizations: Capitals, Eastlink Division

Geographic location: Pictou County, Summerside

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