Play three games in three days
SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals will continue a busy week in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) this weekend.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Summerside Western Capitals defenceman Chad Jones suffered a season-ending injury in Saturday’s road game against the Miramichi Timberwolves.
The Capitals will play three games in as many days to complete a stretch of four games over a five-day period.
The Caps, who registered a 3-1 road win over the Campbellton Tigers on Wednesday night, host the Valley Wildcats on Friday at 7 p.m., play a road game against the Dieppe Commandos on Saturday in Memramcook, N.B., and return to Eastlink Arena to host the Miramichi Timberwolves on Sunday at 2 p.m.
“It’s always tough when you have a three-in-three, and unfortunately we had a game postponed earlier in the season, which put us in a four-in-five situation,” said Capitals head coach Tim Schurman on Thursday afternoon. “That comes with the territory. Any time you are playing junior hockey you know there are going to be times like this. We just have to find a way to battle through it and hopefully get a few points on the board.”
The Capitals go into weekend action fourth in the Roger Meek Division at 15-20-2-3 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses). The Wildcats bring an 18-19-3-1 resumé to Summerside while the Meek Division-leading Timberwolves took a 27-9-0-3 record into Thursday night’s first-place showdown with the Commandos (25-9-2-3) in Miramichi, N.B.
What can fans expect to see from the Wildcats?
“They are in a similar stage as we are,” answered Schurman. “They have some talented young players, both up front and on the blue-line. They also have a 16-year-old goaltender who has come in and taken the league by storm in Blade Mann-Dixon.
“They are a little bit of a younger team that works hard, and prides itself on that. I’m expecting a pretty good battle between two younger teams with some talent.”
The Capitals completed the month of January with four wins, five regulation-time losses and one shootout loss. The Capitals have gone 5-5-0-2 in 12 games since Christmas, and seven of those have been decided by one goal. Both of the Caps’ shootout losses during this stretch have come at the hands of the Timberwolves in Miramichi.
“We’ve been able to sneak a couple of points off Miramichi during the season,” said Schurman. “We have a lot of respect for Miramichi. They are kind of where we want to be in the next year and the year after. This is the third year of their cycle in terms of building their team.
“It’s always tough when you have a three-in-three, and unfortunately we had a game postponed earlier in the season, which put us in a four-in-five situation. That comes with the territory. Any time you are playing junior hockey you know there are going to be times like this. We just have to find a way to battle through it and hopefully get a few points on the board.” Capitals head coach Tim Schurman
“They have a lot of very talented players over there. It’s one line after another with a lot of talent and experience.
“We have played them tough so far and we hope to continue that trend on Sunday.”
The Capitals have confirmed that rookie defenceman Chad Jones from Corner Brook, N.L., has been lost for the season because of a broken collarbone suffered in Miramichi on Saturday night.
“We’ve been faced with a little bit of adversity in terms of injuries the last few weeks,” said Schurman. “First with (rookie defenceman) Brett Doiron with a broken jaw, we lost (goaltender) Simon-Pier Chamberland for a couple of weeks, then (rookie forward) Brad Power to a broken jaw and now Chad Jones is out for the season.
“We are a little thin on the blue-line, but our guys have stepped up. It’s great to have Brett Doiron back in the lineup. It’s still a bit of a process for him (Doiron) coming back from a broken jaw, a tough injury to come back from. We’re happy to have him back, and he’s going to get some valuable minutes down the stretch.”
Jones, who is listed as five-foot-nine and 180-pounds, recorded six assists and 60 penalty minutes in 36 regular-season games with the Capitals.
“Chad Jones brought a physical presence to our blue-line,” said Schurman. “One thing you always knew was he (Jones) would be working and battling game in and game out. We are going to miss that part of his game.
“Also, he is just a great kid to be around and have around the room. He’s an easy-going fella, and your typical Newfie in that he has a good sense of humour.
“We’re lucky that he’s enrolled in UPEI, so he’s still going to be around the team. Although he can’t play, we are still lucky to have him around the room for however long our season lasts.”
Schurman said Power is back skating, but will not return to the lineup for at least the next couple of weeks. Power has 34 points, including 18 goals, in 35 regular-season games.
“We are going to be very happy to have him back,” added the head coach.