The Guardian (Charlottetown)
MHL recognition for Caps players
Summerside Western Capitals host Yarmouth tonight in anticipated clash
SUMMERSIDE – Two Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals received recognition from the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) for their play in the 2020-21 regular season.
Left-winger Justin Ertel is a member of the Eastlink South Division all-star team, and Mark Hillier is the centre for the division’s rookie all-star team.
“Both of these kids have been outstanding for us and are outstanding young men,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan, who noted Ertel and Hillier played on a line with Caps forward Cole Galata at St. Andrew's College last season. “It gives us some depth in scoring when I have them separated, but any chance you get to put them back together for a few shifts, Hillier, Ertel, and Galata like to make a little magic.”
In 18 regular-season games, the 17-year-old Ertel, who is from Mississauga, Ont., registered a team-leading 28 points (nine goals and 19 assists). The six-foot-two, 187-pound son of former UPEI Panther Tyler Ertel was third in the league in rookie scoring and led all first-year players in assists and power-play assists (8).
McGuigan said Ertel brings a versatile game to the team with his combination of skill and physicality.
“He’s a big, strong body, he controls pucks down low, brings them to the net, makes plays off the rush and he has a pro shot.”
Hillier, listed as six-foot-one and 185 pounds, also appeared in 18 regular-season games. He was third in team scoring with 26 points (13 goals and 13 assists).
The 18-year-old from Labrador City, N.L., finished fourth in the rookie points race. He tied Edmundston’s
“Both of these kids have been outstanding for us and are outstanding young men. It gives us some depth in scoring when I have them separated, but any chance you get to put them back together for a few shifts, Hillier, Ertel and Galata like to make a little magic.”
Western Capitals’ head coach Billy McGuigan
Joshua Nadeau for the most rookie goals.
“He has good bloodlines and pedigree; his first cousin, Alex Peddle, played here (in 201516) and wore No. 10 (the same number Hillier wears),” said McGuigan. “Hillier is a great player for us.
“He has good size and is probably one of the most skilled guys in the league. He makes plays off the rush, can score in close and has a big body.”
The Caps resume roundrobin playoff action tonight in the Eastlink South Division.
The Yarmouth Mariners will visit Eastlink Arena at 7 p.m. Both teams enter the anticipated head-to-head matchup with identical 3-0-0 (won-lost-overtime losses) records in the single roundrobin format, which will determine the matchups for the best-of-five quarter-final series.
The Mariners completed the regular season with a leaguebest record of 27-8-1 and were given four points to start the round robin. The Caps went 14-7-2.
“It’s been such a difficult season, playing two, three weeks at a time and then getting shut down (due to COVID-19),” said Caps forward and former Charlottetown Islander Cole Edwards. “This is the first time we are getting into our groove and playing every other night, and it’s showing.”
Along with some continuity, Edwards credited a complete team effort and attitude for the Caps’ strong start to the post-season.
“We know to be a championship team in the playoffs that you need to be a 200-foot team,” said Edwards. “Everyone is adapting to that.
“Sometimes in the dog days of the regular season, guys are looking for points, but now everybody is here to win, and everybody is buying into our systems. We haven’t even seen what our team can do yet. We are starting to climb
the mountain now, and I’m looking forward to the games ahead.”