The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals can clinch a Maritime Junior Hockey League regular-season title with a point to night.
But it won’t be easy as the Caps (38-6-0-2) host the second-overall Edmundston Blizzard (30-9-1-6) at 7 p.m. at Credit Union Place. It will be the last meeting of the regular season between the squads, who can’t meet again until the second round of the playoffs.
“They’re going to want to kind of make a statement,” Capitals’ head coach Billy McGuigan said Wednesday. “We want to make sure that we put doubt in their minds.”
McGuigan said it has been hard to gain more ground on the Blizzard, who sport a .728 winning percentage this season.
“Edmundston is a great hockey team,” the bench boss said. “It’s a big game. It’s an important game for both teams.”
While teams begin the season thinking of winning the championship trophy in the final game of the playoffs, the regular season banner is a nice accomplishment and provides home-ice advantage throughout the post-season.
“It’s something we work for all season long,” McGuigan said. “To be consistent through 52 games is a pretty big feather in your hat.”
The Capitals finished first in the regular season in 2018-19 while the Blizzard earned the honour in 2017-18. McGuigan said he was proud of his team to be in a position to finish first in back-to-back years despite losing key cogs from last year’s squad like T.J. Shea, Conor MacEachern Jesse Annear and Dylan Riley.
“The young guys that have come up have fit in extremely well,” McGuigan said.
Another milestone is within reach tonight as captain Brodie MacArthur is three points back of Duane Saulnier for the league’s all-time scoring record. Saulnier had 352 points with the Halifax Lions and DQ Blizzard during the late 1980s. MacArthur has 349 points in 191 career games with the Capitals.
Dominik Tmej gets the start in the Caps’ crease tonight while Summerside is healthy after a flu bug went through the team during the past two weeks.