Ryan Richards picked a good time to score his first goal as a Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capital.
The 18-year-old affiliate player tallied the winner Sunday as the Caps doubled the Truro Bearcats 4-2 at Credit Union Place in Maritime Junior Hockey League action. Richards, who is playing with the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers of the Island Junior Hockey League this season, played on a line with Riley MacDougall and Nick Reeves on Sunday.
“Riley made a really nice play behind the net. (He) came out and put it pretty much on my stick. All I had to do was just swing at it,” Richards said. “I didn't really aim anywhere, just put it on the net and just glad that it went in.”
The tally was part of a four-goal second period for the Caps, who fell behind 1-0 when Truro captain Ben Higgins scored a power-play goal 45 seconds into the middle stanza.
Richards didn’t complete the game after his knee swelled up after taking a hit behind the Truro net early in the third period. He was limping after the game but was still smiling when asked about the goal.
“I’m just happy they got the win,” Richards said of the Caps. “They deserved it tonight and I’m just happy to contribute anyway I can.”
Reeves has played three games with the Caps this season since being acquired in January from the Fredericton Red Wings in exchange for an eight-round draft choice in 2020, a conditional sixth-round pick in 2021 and future considerations. The Cornwall native, who played for the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild major midget team the past three seasons, now has a goal, an assist and 19 penalty minutes for the Caps.
“He’s been excellent,” head coach Billy McGuigan said, noting his strong games in Yarmouth, N.S., and Campbellton, N.B. “To get him a home game here and see him score a goal is pretty rewarding.”
The Capitals, winners of five straight games, improved to 38-6-0-2 while the Bearcats (21-16-3-4) lost for the first time in seven contests in February.
“We’re clicking here and we’re playing well right at the right time,” McGuigan said.
Capitals’ Captain Brodie MacArthur is closing in on the league’s all-time scoring record. He has 349 points, three back of Duane Saulnier’s 352 with the Halifax Lions and DQ Blizzard teams of the late 1980s.
But MacArthur wasn’t looking to pad his stats at the end of Sunday’s contest. He was below the goal-line in the final minute battling for possession of the puck.
“This record he’s chasing is pretty cool and, obviously, we want him to get there,” McGuigan said, “but he wants to win hockey games at the end of the day, so he’s going to play whatever way he needs to win.”
The Capitals entertain the Edmundston Blizzard (30-9-1-6) Thursday at 7 p.m. in a battle of the league’s top two teams.
A recap of Sunday’s Maritime Junior Hockey League contest between the host Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals and the Truro Bearcats.
Truro – 2.
Summerside – 4.
Truro – Ben Higgins and Jason Imbeault.
Summerside – Carson MacKinnon, Ed McNeill, Ryan Richards and Marc-Andre LeCouffe.
Truro – Spencer Blackwell, Bryan Laureigh, Ben Higgins and Dell Welton.
Summerside – Zach Biggar 2, Josh MacDonald, Marc Richard, Riley MacDougall and Jacob Arsenault.
Truro – Sebastien Plamondon, 36 saves on 40 shots.
Summerside – Dominik Tmej, 17 saves on 19 shots.
Truro – 1-for-4.
Summerside – 0-for-4.
Attendance – 2,049. It was the Capitals’ Rally for the Valley game in support of Tyne Valley.
“It was a real good test for us physically because they really came at us. … This year, in the nights that we were really pushed and shoved and maybe tried to be bullied a bit early in games, we always seem to respond, and we responded well again here tonight.”
Head coach Billy McGuigan