CAMPBELLTON, N.B. – Head coach Billy McGuigan called it a complete team win.
McGuigan praised the contributions from throughout the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals’ lineup en route to a solid 4-1 road victory over the Campbellton Tigers on Wednesday night. It was a big win for the Capitals, who now lead the best-of-seven Eastlink North Division semifinal series in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) 3-1. The Caps have put themselves in a position to wrap the series up on home ice in Game 5 at Eastlink Arena in Summerside on Friday at 7 p.m.
“Obviously, we would like to finish the series at home, and not have to come back to Campbellton,” McGuigan told the Journal Pioneer in a post-game phone interview. “It’s a must-win for us.
“We have to continue to do the things we have been doing to have success. Right now we are a committed hockey team. We are committed to defence, we are committed to chipping pucks, all the little things that it takes to win. Those little things become big things in a series like. I feel we are committed right now.”
Before 667 fans at the Campbellton Memorial Civic Centre, rookie defenceman Jordan Spence of Cornwall registered one goal and two assists to pace the Capitals offensively. TJ Shea (1-1), Morgan MacDonald and Brodie MacMillan also lit the lamp for the visitors.
Alex Bishop continued his strong play between the pipes for the Capitals, stopping 39 of 40 shots. Jacob Roberts’s power-play goal with five seconds remaining prevented Bishop from earning back-to-back shutouts after a 37-save effort in a 3-0 win in Game 3 on Monday night.
“We’ve been pretty stingy defensively,” added McGuigan. “That is playoff hockey.”
Another key for the Capitals, noted McGuigan, was special teams as the Caps scored two of their goals while on the man advantage.
“Our penalty killing was outstanding, our power play was good and special teams was the difference in the game,” assessed McGuigan. “They had a 5-on-3 to start the second period, and (rookie defenceman) Sam Lau got in the lanes and made three tremendous blocks on that power play. That was the turning point in the game.”
McGuigan agreed with the assessment that over the course of a long, tough series, teams need contributions from everyone throughout the lineup.
“You don’t win playoff series without your soldiers,” said McGuigan. “Sam comes out and blocks three or four massive one-timers from (Pierre-Luc) Lurette, and just eats them up.
“Brodie MacMillan scored again (Wednesday), Jordan Spence continued his play and this win was by committee and the guys in the room deserve all the credit.”
Brodie MacArthur, Kallum Muirhead, Chris Chaddock and Cameron Roberts added helpers for the Caps, who directed 37 shots at Campbellton netminder Greg Maggio.
The Caps led 1-0 after the opening period, and extended that margin to 3-0 at the end of 40 minutes.
The game’s three stars were:
1. Alex Bishop (Capitals), 2. Jordan Spence (Capitals), 3. Jacob Roberts (Tigers).