SUMMERSIDE – It’s a busy week for the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
The Capitals are scheduled to play three divisional games over the next four days, starting with a make-up contest against the St. Stephen Aces on Tuesday. Puck drop at Eastlink Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Caps remain home to entertain the Miramichi Timberwolves in another 7 p.m. faceoff on Thursday, before hitting the road to play the Campbellton Tigers on Friday at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a very important part of our season,” acknowledged Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “When you look at the schedule in early September and look for big weeks, this would have been one of them for sure.”
The Capitals, who have won 16 of their last 20 games, sit in second place in the Eastlink North Division at 23-13-1-0 (won-lost-overtime losses-shootout losses). The Capitals hold a four-point lead over the Timberwolves (19-12-2-3) in the battle for home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.
The Capitals trail the league-leading Edmundston Blizzard (27-8-3-0) by 10 points in the division, and will be looking to cut into the margin. The Caps have won two straight – 7-1 over the Aces in St. Stephen, N.B., on Saturday and 4-0 versus Edmundston in Summerside on Thursday.
“We have played well for 60 minutes in our last two games, and we dictated the pace in both of them,” said McGuigan.
When asked if there’s anything in particular he’s looking for from his team this week, McGuigan said he wants them to continue playing the “blue-collar hockey” the team has become known for.
“I would like to see us get some more pucks to the net, and try to get more bodies and traffic to the net, try not to be so fancy,” said McGuigan.
A four-point effort on Saturday moved MacArthur into second place in the league scoring race with 61 points – 22 goals and 39 assists. MacArthur’s linemate, TJ Shea, has a league-leading 81 points – 34 goals and 54 helpers.
To illustrate their consistency, Shea will take a 31-game point streak into Tuesday’s game while MacArthur will be looking to record at least a point in 24 consecutive contests.
“They are two great, great kids, human beings, great people in the dressing room and great people in the community,” said McGuigan. “They are professional and mature for their age.
“They just come to work and play every night, and they play that consistent style.”
McGuigan said Dominic Tmej, who earned his league-leading fifth shutout with a 42-save effort against Edmundston last week, will be back in goal on Tuesday after Alex Bishop made 31 saves in Saturday’s victory.
Tmej, who has appeared in 14 games with the Caps, leads the MHL with a microscopic 1.89 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.