With third place in the North Division on the line, and second place within shooting distance, Western Capitals head coach Billy MacGuigan is calling Thursday night’s home game against the Miramichi Timberwolves their biggest game of the season.
“The standings are so close. These points right now matter,” MacGuigan emphasized. “It’s early in the season, but we’re reaching that half-way point right now, but the division is so tight that every single night we play, those points are very important.”
The Caps trail the third place Timberwolves by one point and have one game in hand.
After Thursday’s home game, the Caps, who have been drawing among the best in the league, play on the road Saturday in Amherst and in Campbellton on Sunday. The Caps are currently three points behind the second-place Campbellton Tigers but have played two fewer games.
Thursday’s 7 p.m. game at East Link Arena comes on the heels of Summerside’s three-wins-in-three-games weekend which included a 3-2 overtime victory over the Timberwolves and a shutout victory over the south division’s South Shore Lumberjacks.
They did it with a shortened bench due to injuries, but MacGuigan views that as a character-building exercise for the Caps, who he described as being the youngest team in the Maritime Hockey League.
MacGuigan said he’s sticking with Dominik Tmej in goal.
“He came in here and played outstanding,” he said of Tmej’s contributions since his recent arrival. “We’ve played well in front of him. I feel he gives us a sense of confidence as a team. He’s calm and cool in the net and he’s played very well for us. It’s given us a new sense of confidence.”
The head coach had praise for Cam Roberts’ contributions since joining the line with Brodie MacArthur and the league’s scoring leader, TJ Shea.
“His production has gone way up,” he said of Roberts, adding that the line really seems to click. “As he gains experience he’s found a way to reward himself and put himself in good situations.”
He’s also high on the Caps’ four-man defensive unit of Sebestien Cormier, Jesse Annear Brodie MacMillan and Jordan Spence. “These guys have just been outstanding.”