Caps drop one-goal decision

Jason Simmonds
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Miramichi takes 2-0 lead in Roger Meek Division semifinal

SUMMERSIDE – The Miramichi Timberwolves weathered the storm and made the most of their opportunities.

That was the storyline of Game 2 against the Summerside Western Capitals on Monday night, and the end result is a 2-0 lead for the Timberwolves in the best-of-seven Roger Meek Division semifinal series in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).

Billy Gaston’s power-play goal at 8:46 of the first period stood up as the game’s lone goal as the Timberwolves, behind Clint Windsor’s shutout goaltending, pulled out a 1-0 victory before 805 fans at Eastlink Arena.

“It’s always tough to lose, especially a hard-fought game,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman. “Both teams gave it everything they had tonight (Monday).

“Somebody has to lose, we were just unable to get one past Windsor. Hopefully, that can change in Game 3.”

Overall, the Capitals outshot the Timberwolves 27-19, including 12-7 and 13-6 margins in the first two periods, but were limited to just two shots in the final 20 minutes.

The Capitals had their best chances to tie the game in the second period.

“We went at them with everything we have,” said Schurman. “We like to play a speed game, and let some of our guys who have some offensive skill create plays.

“We did a good job getting pucks to him (Windsor), but we probably could do a little better job of getting bodies there and making it a little tougher on him.

“A few times the pucks were there, we hit a post and we were knocking on the door all night.”

Gaston didn’t make any mistake on his opportunity, which was set up by Brayden Wood and Brett Malone.

“Brayden Wood had it (puck) on the point, and I saw a lane straight through to him, and I called for it,” explained Gaston. “He (Wood) made a real good shot and I redirected it to myself and had an open net to tap it home.”

“It’s always tough to lose, especially a hard-fought game. “Both teams gave it everything they had tonight (Monday). Somebody has to lose, we were just unable to get one past Windsor. Hopefully, that can change in Game 3.” Caps head coach Tim Schurman

Gaston admitted it was a hard-fought contest.

“It was a really close game,” said Gaston. “Summerside came to play tonight, but we were fortunate to come away with the win.”

The Timberwolves, who won the series opener 4-3 in Miramichi on Saturday night, did not allow the Caps to get anything generated offensively in the third period.

“We tried to keep them to the outside and clog up the neutral zone,” said Gaston. “They didn’t really have any quality shots (in the third period).”

Capitals forward Blaize Bridges said the Timberwolves were aggressive defensively all game, and he didn’t think they changed too much in the final 20 minutes.

Simon-Pier Chamberland made 18 saves for the Capitals, who went 0-for-4 on the power play and are now 1-for-10 in the series. Miramichi finished 1-for-3 and is 3-for-8 in the first two games.

Referees Tim Hamel and Mike Annear called four of the game’s seven minor penalties against Miramichi.

Game 3 is at the Miramichi Civic Centre on Wednesday night, with Game 4 back in Summerside on Friday at 7 p.m.

“The boys know we put it all on the line (in Game 2),” said Bridges. “We know they still have to win two more, and we have to win the next one for sure.”

The game’s three stars were:

1. Billy Gaston (Timberwolves), 2. Clint Windsor (Timberwolves), 3. Simon-Pier Chamberland (Capitals).

Organizations: Capitals, Timberwolves, Maritime Junior Hockey League Miramichi Civic Centre

Geographic location: Miramichi, Summerside

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