TIGNISH – The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals scored an impressive home-ice win away from the Eastlink Arena on Saturday night, downing the Truro Bearcats 3-1 at Tignish Credit Union Arena.
The Capitals, sitting second in the Eastlink North Division, now hold a nine-point lead on the third-place Miramichi Timberwolves with five regular-season games remaining for both teams in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
Saturday’s contest was a homecoming for the league’s leading scorer, Caps’ second-year forward TJ Shea.
Shea, who is from Anglo Tignish, last played a home season out of the Tignish Credit Union Arena during his second year in atom AAA. He recalls his team taking a game there when he was playing bantam AAA, and admitted being “a little nervous” as Saturday’s game got underway.
“It was a big crowd and a lot of people I know who were watching me, so I wanted to do well for them and get a win here,” he said. “The nerves settled in after a while, and it ended up being a good game.”
Shea drew an assist on Sebastian Cormier’s goal at 19:18 of the first period, which gave the Capitals a 2-0 lead, and was named the game’s third star.
Another player with a strong connection to the area is Thomas Harper from Charlottetown, who had a solid game on defence. His father, Scott, is from Tignish and his mother Tanya is from Elmsdale. The Caps’ win was a neat birthday present for his grandmother, Muriel Harper.
The Capitals, who got on the board with a Chris Chaddock power-play goal at 9:45 of the first period, then went up 3-0 on a Brodie MacArthur power-play goal at 2:48 of the second period. They went 2-for-4 with the man advantage after scoring on their first two power-play opportunities. Each team was assessed five minors while the Capitals also took a 10-minute misconduct.
Longtime Tignish Aces defenceman Michael Gaudette appreciated the opportunity to see the Capitals play a home game in Tignish. It was a good game, he assessed.
“It’s good for the community, too,” he said. With minor hockey and other priorities locally, he said it is rare he gets to see the Capitals play at home. He especially liked the opportunity to see Shea and Harper play. To have a game come up, it’s pretty big. You get to see them.”
It was a good game from the Caps’ management perspective, too. They listed game attendance at 810, including season-ticket holders, and are hoping to attract more fans to their remaining two regular-season home games and their playoff games because of it.
MacArthur led the Capitals with a goal and an assist and was named the game’s first star. Jesse Annear (two assists) was named second star.
Jordan Spence and Cam Roberts each picked up an assist for the Capitals in the win.
Capitals goaltender Dominik Tmej had his shutout bid spoiled by Campbell Pickard with 3:32 remaining in the third. Assists on Pickard’s goal were credited to Mark O’Shaughnessy and Dylan Burton.
Tmej stopped 26 of the Bearcats’ 27 shots. The Capitals directed 28 shots at Bearcats goaltender Kevin Resop.
“We’ve got three games next weekend (they host Campbellton on Thursday and visit South Shore on Friday and Yarmouth on Saturday), so they will be a hard three games.
“We’re playing three tough teams as well, so were just looking to get a few wins down the home stretch and get ready for the playoffs,” Shea said in looking ahead. “We’re just hoping on finishing strong.”