UPDATED: Caps stay alive

Jason Simmonds
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Send Roger Meek Division semifinal series back to Miramichi

SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals are still alive in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) playoffs.

The Capitals put forth an all-out effort in staving off elimination with a 5-2 win over the Miramichi Timberwolves on Friday night in a game that was a lot closer than the final score would indicate.

“It was the kind of effort we have come to expect, and the kind of effort we push our guys to give all the time,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman. “It’s nice to see guys get rewarded with a big win.”

The Timberwolves lead the best-of-seven Roger Meek Division semifinal 3-1, with Game 5 at the Miramichi Civic Centre on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“It’s still a huge mountain we have to climb up to make this a series, but there is no quit in our group,” said Schurman. “We are going to approach the next game the same way we did today – give everything we have and see what happens.”

Before 1,026 fans at Eastlink Arena, including over 100 Miramichi supporters, Thomas Stavert (1-2), Cavan Fitzgerald (1-1), Joey Colatarci (1-1), Alex Bradley and Maxim Pitre scored for the Capitals, who took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission after a scoreless first period.

The Caps went ahead 3-0 early in the third period, but the Timberwolves made it a 3-2 game with 2:31 to go in regulation time. However, the Caps put the game away with a pair of empty-net goals in the final minute.

Overall, the Caps outshot the Timberwolves 47-34, including a 34-21 advantage through the first two periods. Simon-Pier Chamberland was the winning goaltender, and Clint Windsor took the loss.

“Both teams had some chances, and both goalies made some big saves,” said Schurman.

 

First lead of series

Fitzgerald’s power-play goal at 8:20 of the second period opened the game’s scoring, and gave the Caps their first lead of the series. Pitre picked up a shot off the end boards along the goal-line and slid it into the open side of the net to Windsor’s left with 48 seconds to go in the second period.

Bradley picked the corner just inside the post to the left of Windsor to make it 3-0

At 3:45 of the third period.

Windsor made the save of the night just before the halfway mark of the final frame, robbing the Caps’ Tyler Doyle on a perfect pass from Jordan Buchanan on a 2-on-1 short-handed break that would have made it 4-0. But the Timberwolves came right back up the ice, and Rankyn Campbell scored on the power play at the 10-minute mark to make it a 3-1 game.  Jordan Kennedy made it 3-2 at 17:29, setting the stage for a nail-biting finish.

“It was the kind of effort we have come to expect, and the kind of effort we push our guys to give all the time. It’s nice to see guys get rewarded with a big win.” Caps head coach Tim Schurman

“It’s never fun when games get tight,” said Schurman. “We have played in so many tight games this year, guys are somewhat used to it. . . Any time you give a team like that a chance needing just one goal, and there is a lot of firepower over there, there are some tense moments.”

The Caps buckled down defensively, and two empty-net goals by Stavert and Colatarci in the final minute put the game out of reach.

Malik Johnson and Brad Power added single assists for the Caps, who dropped the first three games of the series by 4-3, 1-0 and 9-6 scores.

“We were feeling pretty good with our game,” said Schurman. “There have been only been some minor stretches in these four games where we were not happy, and where we expect our game to be.

“We were getting chances, and we felt if we kept going eventually we would get one.”

Campbell, Cole MacDonald and Tyrone Sock picked up helpers for Miramichi.

Referees Wayne Doyle and Thane Arsenault called six minors and a fighting major against the Timberwolves. The Caps were called for seven minors, one fighting major and two 10-minute misconducts.

The game’s three stars were:

1. Simon-Pier Chamberland (Capitals), 2. Cavan Fitzgerald (Capitals), 3. Clint Windsor (Timberwolves).

 

Game plan

Schurman said the Caps are going to Miramichi on Sunday with a simple game plan.

“Any time your backs are up against the wall you are looking to empty the tank, have no regrets at the end of the night that you did everything you could and you worked as hard as you could,” said Schurman. “Hopefully, we can bring the same type of work ethic with us on Sunday.”

 

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

 

 

Organizations: Capitals, Timberwolves, Miramichi Civic Centre

Geographic location: Miramichi

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