EDMUNDSTON, New Brunswick – The Summerside Western Capitals scored five goals from the halfway mark to register a 7-4 win over the Edmundston Blizzard on Thursday night at the Jean-Daigle Centre to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven MHL Eastlink North Division semi-final series.
Slowed by injuries, the troop of Emery Olauson nevertheless gave a hard time to the powerful Prince Edward Island machine. The Blizzard took the lead twice in the game, even leading 3-2 halfway through the game.
Both teams struck early in the game with goals from Noah Gibbs (1st) at 44 seconds for the Blizzard and then Jacob Stewart (2nd) at 1:42 for the Capitals. The visitors took a 2-1 lead at 12:48 thanks to the goal of Connor Keough (1st). Tristan Fortin tied the game at 2 at 15:02 of the first with his 2nd of the playoffs.
In the middle frame, Austin Paul stirred up the noisy crowd by scoring at 9:05. The Blizzard then led 3-2, but the Western Capitals got going, striking with three straight goals before the second was over. Trentyn Crane (1st), Colby MacArthur (3rd) and Crane again beat Raphaël Audet at 11:36, 12:36 and 15:41 respectively.
Trailing 5-3 to start the third, the Blizzard narrowed the gap to one after Gibbs’ second goal of the night at 1:28. The Western Capitals completed with two goals, those of MacArthur (4th, at 4:10) and Carter Murchison (2nd, at 8:08). After this last goal, Audet gave way to Simon Couroux in front of the Blizzard goal.
Raphaël Audet does not have to be ashamed of his performance. He had quite a busy night once again and made some great saves that the crowd liked. But the Capitals had a perfect offensive to match their reputation of being seeded 3rd in the country.
Audet faced 40 of Summerside’s 41 shots. Although he struggled a bit, goaltender Félix-Anthony Éthier earned the win for the Western Capitals. He faced 30 shots from the Blizzard.
Trentyn Crane (1st, Summerside), Noah Gibbs (2nd, Edmundston) and Jacob Stewart (3rd, Summerside) earned the stars of the matchup.
The two teams will face each other again on Friday, April 1st at 7:30 p.m. at the Jean-Daigle Center. The outcome will be important before going to game 5.
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Noah Gibbs shows his joy after reducing the gap to one goal early in the third period. His teammate Brendan Sibley (27) joins him for the celebrations. Photo Percy Picard
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Contact: Hugues Chiasson, vice-president communications – The Edmundston Blizzard; (506) 740-0623 – cell phone