‘Every point counts’
Williams turns 39-save performance as Capitals defeat Timberwolves
Matt Williams was looking to bounce back, and he delivered in a big way.
The rookie goaltender stopped 39 of 41 shots to backstop the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals to a much-needed 3-2 victory over the Miramichi Timberwolves on Thursday.
“I thought I played better than I have been lately,” said the 17year-old Williams, who gave up six goals on 38 shots in a 7-4 loss at Dieppe on Sunday. “I came in better mentally prepared than I have been, knowing that every point is huge now and I have to make every save I can.”
The victory snapped a threegame losing streak for the Capitals, who are 23-11-1-0 in the Maritime Junior Hockey League. The Caps are two points back of league-leading Woodstock (236-3-0) and two in front of Dieppe (22-9-1-0) in the Roger Meek Division. Fourth-place Miramichi fell to 18-12-0-2.
“Our division is so close and right now every point counts, especially within our division,” said Williams, who earned his 16th win of the regular season.
The Capitals make a return visit to Miramichi, N.B., tonight, and will visit the Amherst Ramblers (12-19-0-1) on Saturday.
Williams was sharp throughout the game, making an outstanding left-pad save off a point-blank rebound in the first period, a highlight-reel glove grab on a second-period breakaway and a tricky right-pad save as time expired as the Timberwolves got a quick shot right off a faceoff to his left.
It didn’t take the Capitals long to open the scoring before an estimated 1,000 fans at Eastlink Arena as Blaize Bridges made no mistake converting a Thomas Stavert pass on a two-on-none just 1:40 into the game.
Jon Larter gave the Caps a 2-0 advantage on a wrap-around goal at 14:09, but the Timberwolves’ Neil Aird was left all alone in the slot and made no mistake in making it 2-1 with 52 seconds to go in the first period.
Olivier Gendron’s shot squeaked through Williams’s pads to tie the game on the power play at 11:56 of the second period. The Caps answered back with a power-play goal at the 14-minute mark as Sam LeBlanc went top shelf over the right shoulder of Timberwolves goaltender Bobby Dugan III, who faced 33 shots.