SUMMERSIDE – It’s the first of two big weekends for players on the bubble of cracking the Summerside Western Capitals’ roster.
Those individuals will be able to show what they can provide the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) team in game situations as the Capitals and Pictou County Weeks Crushers meet in an exhibition home-and-home series. The Capitals will host the first game at Eastlink Arena on Saturday, with the teams meeting back in New Glasgow, N.S., on Sunday. Both games are 3 p.m. starts.
“Our identity last year was a hard-working team that had to perform at its best to get points,” said Tim Schurman, who is entering his second season as Caps head coach. “This is going to be no different.
“We expect guys to give everything they have, whether it’s in practices or games. We just want to see guys who are going to do anything they can to make the team, and in the end that will translate into helping us win some games.”
The Capitals opened training camp on Monday, and after 18 players were released following the second intra-squad game in as many nights on Wednesday, there are currently around 30 players in camp.
“It’s been a great camp so far,” said Schurman. “We have a lot of returning guys so far, and they have all performed up to our expectations for them, and a lot of young guys have come into camp and put their talent on display.
“Even guys we had to release, it wasn’t really a knock on them, it’s more the position we are in now with returning guys. Most of them will benefit with another solid year in midget, and hopefully be ready to make the step next year or the year after.
“At some point pretty much everybody who was in camp is going to be able to play at the junior A level.”
General manager Pat McIver said earlier this week he would like to be down to 21 or 22 for the regular-season opener against the Crushers on Sept. 11. The Caps will open the regular season with five straight road games before their home opener on Sunday, Oct. 5.
“It’s very important for us to get off to a decent start in those first five games, and try and get some momentum to bring home,” said Schurman. “Obviously, there are going to be a couple of tough decisions as you get this late in training camp, and the numbers start to whittle down. We are definitely looking to get the team picked sooner than later so we can get to work and ready for our regular-season opener in Pictou.”
As for his lineups this weekend, Schurman said fans can expect to see a “few veterans” mixed in with some young guys.
“We feel comfortable with the mix that is going to play in both these games,” said Schurman. “Even for the young guys, if they don’t end up making the team, it’s always nice to get a few games in so you know what will be expected of you in the future.”
The Capitals will close out the pre-season with a home-and-home series against the Amherst Ramblers next weekend.
Saturday’s line for
Summerside Western Capitals:
30. Brodie Barrick
1. Bradley Shea
2. Dawson Grenier
4. Joey Colatarci
5. Matthew Morgan
12. Evan Millman
22. Mitchell Robinson
23. Corey Chaplin
7. Jonathan Arsenault
8. Brad Power
9. Brock Richard
11. Johnathan Larter
15. Sam Jay
16. Spencer Sherren
18. Nathan Yetman
27. Hunter MacIntyre
28. Austin Taylor
79. Chasse Gallant
81. Alex Bradley