Timberwolves end Western Caps’ season

Jason Simmonds
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Four of the five games in playoff series decided by one goal

MIRAMICHI, N.B. – As they have all season, the Summerside Western Capitals did not go down without a fight in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) playoffs.

The Miramichi Timberwolves edged the Capitals 3-2 on Sunday afternoon to win the best-of-seven Roger Meek Division semifinal series, with four of those decided by one goal. The Timberwolves now move on to face the Dieppe-Woodstock series winner in the division final. Dieppe currently leads that series 3-1.

“We’ve been emptying the tank for the whole series,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman in a post-game phone interview. “We threw everything we had at them (Timberwolves) for five games. . .

‘Full credit to them for being able to withstand any pressure we were able to throw at them. It was a heck of a series. Games were close and both teams had moments where they were controlling the play.”

Special teams

Before 1,124 fans at the Miramichi Civic Centre, a big story of Game 5 was the Caps’ inability to capitalize on the power play. The Caps went 1-for-8 with the man advantage, and failed to score on three abbreviated two-man advantages in the second period.

The Timberwolves, meanwhile, were 1-for-4 in the game.

“We had all kinds of chances (on the power play) and hit a post,” said Schurman. “They had guys blocking shots, and that’s the price you pay to win in the playoffs.

“We moved the puck around good and got a lot of good looks, but were unable to score.”

Opens scoring

Rankyn Campbell opened the game’s scoring at 12:36 of the first period, and Tyler Brown staked the Timberwolves to a 2-0 lead at 16:23. Thomas Stavert, assisted by Blaize Bridges and Cavan Fitzgerald, got the Caps on the board with 36 seconds remaining in the third period.

Brett Malone’s power-play goal 1:14 into the second period increased the Timberwolves’ lead to 3-1. That was the only goal of the middle frame.

“We’ve been emptying the tank for the whole serie. We threw everything we had at them (Timberwolves) for five games. . . Full credit to them for being able to withstand any pressure we were able to throw at them. It was a heck of a series. Games were close and both teams had moments where they were controlling the play.” Capitals head coach Tim Schurman

The score remained 3-1 until Bridges scored unassisted at 16:31 of the third period to bring the Caps to within one.

Clint Windsor earned the goaltending win over Simon-Pier Chamberland. Overall, the Caps outshot the Timberwolves 36-28, including a 15-5 advantage in the third period.

“It was a hard-fought game,” said Schurman. “There was no quit in our group. We threw everything we had at them over the last 20 minutes, and they were just able to hang on.”

Final junior A game

The game was the final junior A contest for three graduating Caps – Chamberland, defenceman Mitch Henneberry and forward Blake Millman of Alberton.

“It was an emotional time,” said Schurman in describing his post-game address to his players. “We are losing three great guys in Henny, Simon and Blake.

“Any time you are not going to have guys like that around again, it stings. They are three great guys, and we (coaches) loved having them around every day around the rink, and our team loved having them around.

“We are very thankful we had a group of kids who were willing to listen and work as hard as they could.”

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

The Series

Summerside-Miramichi game results:

Game 1: Summerside 3 at Miramichi 4.

Game 2: Miramichi 1 at Summerside 0.

Game 3: Summerside 6 at Miramichi 9.

Game 4: Miramichi 2 at Summerside 5.

Game 5: Summerside 2 at Miramichi 3.

Organizations: Timberwolves, Capitals, Miramichi Civic Centre

Geographic location: Henny

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