Young Capitals open season in Woodstock, look to begin season 1-0
Sitting at a 0-0 record, anything can happen. It’s a time when dreams run free and the possibilities are truly endless. For the Summerside Western Capitals, it’s a time to set goals and take care of some unfinished business.
After getting swept in the second round of the 2016-17 MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) playoffs at the hands of the Miramichi Timberwolves, the Capitals look to return to the final four and perhaps make a play for that elusive title. However, it won’t be easy. With a large turnover of players, the Capitals are unquestionably younger, but general manager Pat McIver is confident his team can integrate fresh blood to his roster, while still playing a competitive brand of hockey.
“I think we’re capable, but we graduated nine players and we had three guys make the jump to Major Junior,” McIver said. “We were in the final four the last two years and we were the only team in the league to do that. Now we have some turnover and it’s kind of like a rebuild, but with the young players that we have, you just never know.”
With the journey set to begin on the road against the Woodstock Slammers tonight, the Capitals look to continue their recent success against the western
New Brunswick foe. Last year, the Capitals went an impressive 5-1 against the Slammers, while outscoring them 17-9.
“I feel we match up well, but we don’t know who they brought in yet and what kind of team they’ll have,” said Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan. “But I’m anxious to get going here to see what we have in comparison to the rest of the league.” Despite having a young squad, McGuigan has faith his veterans can lead the small, but speedy roster of the Capitals. Captain Morgan MacDonald and assistant captains Hunter McIntyre, TJ Shea and Sebastien Cormier will fill the role as the team’s leaders. While Kallum Muirhead (42 points in 43 games
in 2016-17) and defencemen Jesse Annear and Scott Bagby round out a very strong veteran nucleus to depend on.
“Our veterans have been with us for two to three years now and we expect them to improve their game and we’re hoping our young guys can progress throughout the season,” he said. With the hard work and fundamentals the team is built on, McGuigan is hoping his team can jump out of the gate on a high note and capture that first win.
“If you look at seasons past, teams have made the playoffs in the last day of the season, so points early on are really important.”
TJ Shea of Anglo-Tignish returns to the Summerside Western Capitals this season as one of the team’s veteran players.