Familiar territory

Jason Simmonds
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Peewee AAA Capitals return to Atlantic ch’ship for fourth year in a row

SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Capitals are returning to familiar territory this week.

The Summerside Capitals will represent P.E.I. at the Atlantic peewee AAA hockey championship this week in Fredericton, N.B.

The P.E.I. Peewee AAA Hockey League champions will make their fourth straight appearance in the Atlantic championship tournament. Play opens Thursday in Fredericton, N.B., and continues through to the medal games on Sunday.

“We are excited,” said Capitals head coach Rodney MacArthur. “It’s the first time for all but seven of the boys, so it’s going to be a new experience for a lot of them.

“It’s something that we certainly do not want to take for granted, because it’s not a given that you get there every year. It’s a really nice experience for the kids, they are up against the best of the best. It’s a really good judge of talent, and a great tournament.”

The tournament features the provincial champions from P.E.I., New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and a host team. MacArthur said the Caps’ coaching staff is stressing to its players that the competition is “going to be a step up from what they are used to” playing.

“If they can think of their toughest games and tournaments they have played, it will probably go up a notch from there,” said MacArthur. “New Brunswick sends an all-star team, and they are sending two this year because they are hosting, and they are obviously going to be tough.

“The Nova Scotia winner obviously is going to be a tough team, the Antigonish Bulldogs. We saw them (Bulldogs) play and they are very good, they won the Spud tournament (in Charlottetown).

“Newfoundland is sending a regional all-star team, so it’s going to be really, really stiff competition and it’s a tough tournament to win. We are going with the hopes of coming back with a medal.”

The Capitals won silver at the Atlantics in Summerside two years ago, losing to Bedford, N.S., in the final. Last year, the Caps won the bronze medal in Corner Brook, N.L., and finished fourth, losing the third-place game, in Halifax, N.S., two years ago.

“Both Rob McCormack and I decided we are not going to change anything. We are going to go with what works for us. Our message has been the same all year – puck pressure and puck movement, take away the time and space and make them make plays on us. That’s what we do best. Getting into some kind of defensive shell or system isn’t going to work for us. We are all about puck pressure and movement and see if teams can keep up. That’s our motto.” Summerside head coach Rodney MacArthur

“We have a fourth, a third and a second so far, we are looking for the first,” chuckled MacArthur, who is principal at Queen Elizabeth Elementary School in Kensington.

One thing MacArthur is proud of in the past three years is how competitive the Caps have been.

“I think our worst score in all three years may have been 5-1 three years ago,” added MacArthur, who was a finalist for the 1989 Canadian junior A hockey player of the year award while playing with the Forbie Kennedy-coached Charlottetown Abbies of the now-defunct Island Junior Hockey League. “We’ve been in every game, and that’s all you can hope for.

“We are going to compete our hardest, and let the chips fall where they may.”

MacArthur says the Capitals will not change anything in regards to their style and approach at the Atlantics.

“Both Rob McCormack and I decided we are not going to change anything,” continued MacArthur. “We are going to go with what works for us.

“Our message has been the same all year  – puck pressure and puck movement, take away the time and space and make them make plays on us. That’s what we do best.

“Getting into some kind of defensive shell or system isn’t going to work for us. We are all about puck pressure and movement and see if teams can keep up. That’s our motto.”

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

 

When They Play

Summerside schedule at Atlantic peewee AAA hockey championship:

Thursday, March 27

4 p.m. vs. Nova Scotia.

Friday, March 28

Noon – vs. Host.

Saturday, March 29

9 a.m. – vs. Newfoundland and Labrador.

3:30 p.m. – vs. New Brunswick.

Organizations: Capitals, P.E.I. Peewee AAA Hockey League, Queen Elizabeth Elementary School Island Junior Hockey League

Geographic location: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador Fredericton Charlottetown Summerside Bedford Corner Brook Halifax Nova Scotia.Friday

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