The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals clinched the Eastlink North Division’s 2018-19 regular-season title in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) on Thursday night.
The Capitals overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits en route to a 6-4 win over the Grand Falls Rapids. The win improved the Caps’ record to 35-8-2 (won-lost-overtime losses), and opened up a four-point lead over the Eastlink South Division-leading Yarmouth Mariners (32-8-4) in the overall standings. The Caps have five regular-season games remaining, and the Mariners have six.
The Caps, the fourth-ranked team in this week's Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings, lead the Campbellton Tigers (27-12-5) by 13 points in the North Division. Campbellton has six contests left to be played.
Before 818 fans at Eastlink Arena, veterans Kallum Muirhead (2-1) and Brodie MacArthur (1-2) each recorded three points to key the Caps’ attack. Muirhead’s first goal of the night was a big one as it came right off a MacArthur faceoff win as time expired in the first period to cut the Rapids’ lead to 3-2. Muirhead would tie the game 1:49 into the second period, and the teams would enter the final 20 minutes even at 3-3.
Defenceman Brodie MacMillan also lit the lamp twice, and Sullivan Sparkes added a goal and an assist for the Caps, who snapped a two-game slide. Marc Richard, Cedric Chenier, Noah Massie, Cam Roberts, Dylan Riley and Kayden Peck assisted.
Dawson Wood (2-2) and Jean-Simon Belanger (2-1) had big offensive games for Grand Falls (12-23-6). Chris Melendez (2) and Matthew MacKay chipped in with assists.
The final shots-on-goal totals were 28-26 in favour of the Capitals. Dominik Tmej earned the goaltending win over Andrew Rose.
The game’s three stars were:
1. Kallum Muirhead (Caps), 2. Dawson Wood (Rapids), 3. Jesse Annear (Caps).
The Caps are back in action on Friday in Miramichi, N.B., against the Timberwolves (17-24-2).