KENSINGTON – His teammates call him CC, and there are a few words that begin with the letter C that appropriately describe Kensington Wild goaltender Caleb Coyle of Linkletter.
Calm, consistent, champion.
Coyle backstopped the Wild to the P.E.I. major midget hockey championship for the second year in a row. Kensington, which posted a series-clinching 3-2 overtime win over the Charlottetown Pride in Game 5 of the best-of-seven set on Saturday night, has won three straight provincial titles and four of the last five.
“This guy has ice water in his veins,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “I’m pretty happy for Caleb to experience this again.”
After coming off the bench with the Wild trailing the Pride 3-1 in the 2017 playoffs, Coyle stopped 84 of 88 shots as Kensington rallied for a seven-game series win. In 2018, he played every minute of the post-season, posting a 1.98 goals-against average and .930 save percentage.
In eight playoff starts the last two years, Coyle is 7-1 (won-lost), and Saturday was the first time he surrendered a third-period goal in nine post-season appearances. Not bad for an undrafted player in both the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
“It was a lot better start for us compared to last year, when we had a few rough first few games,” said Coyle. “This year, we came out of the gates flying with an 8-1 win in Game 1, and that gave us confidence.”
A Grade 12 student at Three Oaks Senior High School in Summerside, Coyle has quietly been a model of consistency. In regular-season and playoff action since the first of January, Coyle has given up more than two goals just once in 11 games – a 3-2 setback in Game 3. He faced 30 or more shots in six of those matches.
“I had a pretty good run,” reflected Coyle. “Before (January) I had a couple of games that weren’t too great, but I was able to keep going.
“Our team had a really good run, too. They made my job easy, which is all you can really ask for as a goaltender.”
As for his calm demeanour between the pipes, Coyle explained: “I just try to remind myself that no matter who you are playing, or whatever the score is, the job is the same – you just have to stop the next puck.”
Dunn said Coyle’s maturity is evident when he gives up a goal.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s scored from a bad angle or a breakaway, Caleb is like, ‘No problem guys, I got this,’” added Dunn, who lauded the work of Wild goaltending coach Nelson MacAulay.
The 17-year-old son of Pat Coyle and Lori Pridham-Coyle knows what it takes to be a champion. His resumé also includes provincial titles in atom, peewee and bantam.
“It’s been a good minor hockey career,” added Coyle. “It’s kind of sad to see it coming to an end soon, but we have another weekend at Atlantics (in Lantz, N.S., from March 29 to April 1). Hopefully, we can make another run over there.”
Coyle said he could not have asked for a better final year of minor hockey.
“We have a really close-knit group,” he continued. “We all get along, and everybody buys in.
“We all have our jobs. We all know what we have to do. I’m proud to call all 19 of them my brothers.”
Coyle made a point to recognize his goaltending partner, Chad Arsenault, who went an amazing 16-1-1 while posting a 2.04 goals-against average and .934 save percentage in his rookie season in the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League.
“Chad has become one of my best friends this year,” said Coyle. “He’s a heck of a goalie.
“He’s going to be real important to this team for the next two years, and he has a real bright future.”
Caleb Coyle’s statistics with Kensington Wild:
2.65 goals-against average.
.922 save percentage.
1.98 goals-against average.
.930 save percentage.
3.07 goals-against average.
.900 save percentage.
4 games – 3 starts and one relief appearance.
1.40 goals-against average.
.950 save percentage.