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Western Capitals general manager feels there will be lots of excitement with 2021 MHL playoff format

Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals forward Mark Hillier, right, passes the puck to linemate Cam Roberts during a Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) game against the Truro Bearcats at Eastlink Arena on Feb. 15. The Caps are scheduled to host the league-leading Yarmouth Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m.
Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals forward Mark Hillier, right, passes the puck to linemate Cam Roberts during a Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) game against the Truro Bearcats at Eastlink Arena on Feb. 15. The Caps are scheduled to host the league-leading Yarmouth Mariners on Wednesday and Thursday at 7 p.m. - Jason Simmonds • The Guardian

Summerside returns to action against Yarmouth on Wednesday, April 7

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

The Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) has announced its playoff format, and the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals will remain in the Eastlink South Division.

The Capitals are longtime members of the Eastlink North Division, which consists of five New Brunswick teams. Due to COVID-19, the Caps joined six Nova Scotia teams in the South Division for the 2020-21 season.

The goal is to have the division winners meet in a final series to determine the Canadian Tire Cup champion.

“We think, based on the format, that (the final series) will likely be the last two weeks in May,” said Capitals general manager Pat McIver. “We are optimistic that come then we will be able to play (New Brunswick teams).”

The post-season will begin with the teams playing a round-robin schedule within their division to finalize seeding. Teams will play all teams in their division once.

With the regular-season schedule concluding on April 10, the South Division will begin round-robin play on April 14, with the North Division starting April 18.

“If we go to Yarmouth, Yarmouth won’t be coming to Summerside,” said McIver.” It's the luck of the draw, but the good thing is there is something to play for.”


Back Home Wednesday

  • The Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals are scheduled to host the league-leading Yarmouth Mariners at Eastlink Arena today and Thursday
  • Both games will start at 7 p.m.
  • This will mark the Caps’ first action since a player on the team tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22
  • McIver said he expects that player to be recovered and cleared to play today
  • McIver said everyone who has been following the work-isolation rules with the Caps have tested negative three times since the positive test
  • The Capitals were expected to return to practising early this week
  • The Capitals are 13-5-2 (won-lost-overtime losses). Yarmouth brings a 23-8-1 record to Summerside

Who plays who?

At the end of round-robin play, the first-place team in the South Division will receive a bye while the other teams – two vs. seven, three vs. six, four vs. five – will meet in the three quarter-final series. The winners of those three series, and the first-place team, will clash in the semifinals to decide who plays for the division title.

In the North Division, the fourth- and fifth-place teams following round-robin play will play a quarter-final series. The top three teams will receive byes to the semifinals.

"The 2020-21 regular season has not been a regular season,” said MHL president Steve Dykeman in a media release. “Our players and team staff have persevered through an unprecedented period.All playoff series, including the final, will be best-of-five.

"With the changes in restrictions throughout the region over the past five months, teams have rarely been on an even playing field.

“The round robin will allow us to reset the field while maintaining an advantage for teams who fared better during the regular season.”

The top two teams in each division will receive bonus points in the round-robin standings as a reward for their regular-season play. The final regular-season standings will be decided by winning percentage due to some teams playing more games than others.

Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals defenceman Ed McNeill, 47, carries the puck during a Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) game at Eastlink Arena in Summerside earlier this season. Caps goaltender Nathan Torchia, left, and forward Riley MacDougall follow the play. - Jason Simmonds • The Guardian
Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals defenceman Ed McNeill, 47, carries the puck during a Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) game at Eastlink Arena in Summerside earlier this season. Caps goaltender Nathan Torchia, left, and forward Riley MacDougall follow the play. - Jason Simmonds • The Guardian

Rewards for winning

The Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship tournament point system will be used for the round robin. That includes three points for a regulation-time win, two points for an overtime win and one point for an overtime loss.

All round-robin games tied at the end of regulation time will be decided by overtime only. Teams will play five-on-five and will start with a 10-minute period, followed by 20-minute periods.

McIver said a lot of discussions went into the playoff format. He acknowledged it is a unique year. He added he feels the round-robin format will be fun for the fans and provide teams with extra games to prepare for the playoffs.

“I didn’t want to see a round-robin (format) where somebody got eliminated, and that’s not going to happen,” said McIver.

Twitter.com/JpsportsJason

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1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

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