Minnesota Wilderness vs Truro Bearcats - the Americans won 5-3
For the third time the Summerside Western Capitals hosted the Canadian Tier II junior hockey championship in May, 2013.
The previous two tournaments were held at the Cahill Stadium in 1989 and 1997. The Caps got to the final game but lost in 1989 in the Centennial Cup but made history by winning the national title in the Royal Bank Cup in 1997.
The 2013 RBC was played at the new Credit Union Place which had replaced old Cahill Stadium. The tournament was held May 13-19 featuring the Maritime Junior champion Capitals and four other teams including the Truro Bearcats, a team that had become a familiar foe throughout the regular season and playoffs.
General Manager Pat McIver and Head Coach Billy McGuigan put together a strong contender at the start of the 46th season for the Maritime Junior Hockey League. It was fitting the Capitals and Bearcats would meet in the league finals. Summerside finished with a league best 43 wins, just 7 losses and 2 overtime losses in 52 games. The Caps were runaway winners in the Roger Meek Division winning the regular season by 24 points on second place Woodstock. Truro was 38-9-0 and topped the Eastlink Division.
Summerside outscored opponents 222-119 giving up the fewest goals against in the regular season.
The Caps were led by Mitchell Maynard who had 21 goals, 49 assists for 70 points in the regular season. He finished fourth in scoring. Kyle Morrison of the Bearcats led the league with 35 goals, 53 assists and 88 points. Jonathan Aubertin was a 32 goal scorer the Caps (he added 27 assists for 59 points). Colton Parsons (20-34-54), Christopher Caissy (24-29-53) and defenseman Spencer MacDonald (3-34-37) rounded out the Capitals top five in scoring. Future pro Alex Gallant chipped in with 3 goals, 6 assists and 9 points in 29 games plus 106 minutes in penalties.
Summerside went on a 15 game winning streak from December 9 to January 27. The Caps longest losing streak was a pair of games in early December. Their potent offense managed to win by four or more goals fourteen times during the season. The Caps were 12-4 in one-goal games and their special teams were among the best in the MHL. They were first in the penalty killing department with an 87.3% success rate and third on the power play at 23.9%.
Summerside easily swept the Miramichi Timberwolves, 4-0 in the first round of the MHL playoffs and continued their dominance with a four game sweep of the Woodstock Slammers in the Meek Division finals. The Caps met Truro in the league finals and claimed the Kent Cup championship in five games – all of them were tight affairs. The Capitals won 4-3, lost 4-3 in two overtimes, won 3-2 but then lost 3-2 in double overtime in the fourth contest before blanking the Bearcats, 3-0 on April 24 in the final game of the series. The Capitals claimed the league championship.
The Fred Page Cup
Both teams advanced to the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship hosted by the Bearcats. Summerside won the Fred Page in 2008 and was guaranteed a spot in the Royal Bank Cup as hosts but was determined to earn a berth in the nationals. The Caps lost a close 3-2 contest facing Truro on the Friday night of the tournament which put the home town team in the final. As it turned out both the Caps and Bearcats would meet once again in the championship for a seventh time during the post season run and as usual it was a tense, nail-biting finale. On Sunday May 4 the two sides squared off again. Dylan McGuigan scored twice for Truro in regulation time while second period goals from J.P. Harvey and defenseman Wes Herrett from the Caps meant overtime in a 2-2 tie. Again it was overtime between these two post season rivals. Philip Fyfe scored the game winner on a breakaway with only 4.19 left in the second OT as he beat Caps goalie Kevin Bailie on the shot on the blocker side to give Truro the Fred Page. Bailie made 43 saves during the marathon contest. The Bearcats Shayne Campbell stopped 35 and was named the tournament MVP. Island born defenseman Zack Evans-Renaud from St. Peters of the Bearcats and the Caps J.P. Harvey led the tourney with six points each. Both teams advanced to Summerside and the Royal Bank Cup.
Summerside goalie Kevin Bailie posted a 2.22 goals against average helping the Caps to the RBC final
Capitals bench in game vs Brooks Bandits- the Caps won, 3-1 to clinch playoff spot
Down 2-1 after the first period the Caps kept the pressure on
Anthony Petruzzelli scored the first goal for Brooks at 7.17 in the first period
Capitals bench as the game begins
Brooks Bandits 2013 Royal Bank Cup Champs.
The Royal Bank Cup
The 2013 RBC tournament was set for May 11-19 at Credit Union Place in Summerside which was touted as the best arena complex on PEI.
The Capitals entered their fourth RBC with other appearances in 1989 (finalist), 1997 (champions), and 2007.
Five teams would compete for the Canadian Tier II Junior title marking the third time Summerside had hosted the nationals.
There were some firsts involved in the 2013 tournament. The Minnesota Wilderness became the first American team to compete for the Royal Bank Cup. The Wilderness had a dominant 51-3-2 record in the regular season and won the Dudley Hewitt Cup to win the Central championship.
For the first time a pair of runners-up in the regional playoffs made the final five for the RBC. The host Summerside Western Capitals and the Brooks Bandits from Alberta had that distinction. Brooks had a 53-4-3 regular season record but lost to the Surrey Eagles in the West final. Fred Page Cup champion Truro rounded out the five teams that would go after the national championship.
On opening day, Saturday May 11, the Capitals downed Minnesota, 5-1 while Brooks ran over Truro, 7-1. It was not exactly the start the Bearcats were hoping for and they would lose their next two games, 7-0 to Surrey and 5-3 to Minnesota. Brooks was 2-0 doubling Minnesota, 6-3.
Surrey got by Summerside, 5-4 in overtime on Monday, May 13. Christopher Caissy scored twice for the Capitals giving them 1-0 and 4-2 leads. He also hit the post in the opening period. Caissy was part of a potent scoring line that included JP Harvey and Danny Chiasson. The game got physical late in the second period. Goals by the Eagles Devon Toews and Adam Tambellini tied the game in the third. Brett Mulcahy’s long shot beat Caps goalie Kevin Bailie to win the game for Surrey. That evened Summerside’s record at 1-1.
The Capitals clinched playoff spot with a 3-1 win over the Brooks Bandits the next night as forward JP Harvey scored his third and fourth goals in the RBC. He tied the game at 11.26 in the second and got an insurance goal on a power play in the final minute of the second. Summerside had gone ahead on Danny Chiasson’s marker at 14.52 which turned out to be the winner. Caps goalie Bailie made 27 saves. The only shot that evaded him was by Anthony Paskaruk for the Bandits at 8.24. Summerside scored two goals on four shots in the first but didn’t get a shot net in the second period until late in the period and with 5.21 to go. Brooks hit the post three times during the game. The hosts now 2-1 in the tournament and the Bandits were also 2-1. They would meet again.
Surrey blanked Minnesota, 5-0 on Wednesday, May 15 behind the goaltending of Michael Santaguida who recorded his second shutout in the RBC.
On Thursday, May 16, Brooks dropped Surrey, 5-2. The Capitals met up with their MHL opponents the Truro Bearcats and lost 4-2. Brooks took first place based on their win over Surrey (both teams were 3-1 in the standings). Summerside was third at 2-2. Minnesota and Truro both finished 1-3.
Semi-Finals Saturday, May 18 - Caps Advance Before Record Crowd
The Brooks Bandits advanced to the RBC final with a 5-4 overtime victory facing the Minnesota Wilderness.
Summerside was matched with the Surrey Eagles who edged the Capitals, 5-4 in overtime only five nights earlier. This one would also go to extra time in front of a Royal Bank Cup record crowd of 3,386 at Credit Union Place. That broke the all-time mark set in the RBC final in 2007 in Prince George, B.C. (3,176).The Caps and Eagles had some history. It was Summerside that beat Surrey that won the Royal Bank Cup in 1997 at Cahill Stadium.
After scoreless first and no scoring for over 19 minutes in the second, JP Harvey broke the ice with his fifth goal of the tourney on power play at 19.36. Goalie Kevin Bailie made 22 saves in the opening forty minutes. He was finally beaten by Drew Best on a breakaway at 4.47 in the third which tied the game, 1-1. Danny Chiasson gave Summerside the lead again with his fourth of the tournament just three minutes later set up Chris Caissy who also assisted on their opening goal. Brett Mulcahy knotted the score at 2-2 at 12.42 as he deflected a Dan O’Keefe point shot past Bailie. The two sides went to overtime and Caissy proved to the hero scoring at 16.57 in the extra period giving the Capitals a 3-2 win and trip to the final with Brooks. Caissy picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and eluded a check before snapping a shot just inside the far post that went past Eagles goalie Michael Santaguida. It was the third time the Caps reached the final by going to overtime in the semi-final. Bailie was a standout with 50 saves including three point-blank stops in the first two-and-a-half minutes of overtime. Summerside became the fifth team to go to the RBC final three times.
The RBC Final Sunday, May 19 –Another Record Crowd
Brooks Holds Off Caps, 3-1
Another record crowd – even larger than the Saturday night gathering – took in the championship game in the Royal Bank Cup. This time 4,211 were on hand for the final between Summerside and Brooks. The game was also broadcast on TSN nationally.
The Caps had been here before winning in 1997 after a bittersweet loss in 1989. The Brooks Bandits entered the game as Alberta Junior champs and being ranked #1 in the CJHL Top 20 rankings for the final 22 weeks of the regular season. The last Alberta team to win the national title were the Camrose Kodiaks in 2001.
The game featured only seven minor penalties including four to Brook and three to the Capitals. Most of the scoring came in the opening period as Brooks took a 2-0 lead in the first 9 minutes. Anthony Petruzzelli was set up by Cam Maclise, who was named the Canadian Junior Player of the Year at the RBC banquet two nights previous. The goal into a wide open net gave Brooks the lead at 7.17. Just over a minute later it was 2-0 as Dakota Mason put one through the five-hole of Caps goalie Kevin Bailie. Chris Caissy beat Bandits goalie Michael Fredrick at 10.20 which would be one of 18 shots Summerside would get on net during the game. Brooks outshot the MHL champs, 36-18. There was no more scoring for nearly 2 and a half periods until Maclise iced it with an empty netter at 19.30 with the Caps going with six attackers trying to force overtime. The Caps were limited to eight shots in the final period and where held without a shot for the opening 12 minutes of the third. Maclise couldn’t be happier saying, “Throughout the Western playoffs we had trouble holding a lead but that wasn’t the case in this one. We led 2-1 and held on to it. It feels unreal to be the champs.”
It was a disappointing result for Capitals Head Coach Bill McGuigan and assistants Tim Schurman and Thomas Waugh. “Full credit to them for winning the game,” said McGuigan. “But my players gave it their all and can hold their heads high. We battled down to the end. I am very proud of my team.”
Brooks won its first RBC crown under Head Coach and General Manager Ryan Papaloannou. He credited the win to playing strong defense and “keeping the puck in front of us all night.”
Caps forward Alex Gallant felt the breaks didn’t go their way in the final. “We hit a couple of posts and crossbars and the bounces just didn’t go our way. But we fought a good fight. It just wasn’t our game tonight.”
McGuigan thanked the fans for their support. “Summerside is the best junior town in the country.”
Danny Chiasson led the Caps during the four preliminary games with 3 goals and 7 points. Caissy had 3 goals and 5 points. Bailie was second among goalies with a 2.22 goals against average.
The tournament paid dividends to the City of Summerside. Host chair J.P. Desrosiers said nearly 25,000 tickets were sold for the 10 day tournament which is what organizers expected. The semi-final and final games set attendance records. The RBC was expected to generate $1.5 to $2.5 million in economic spinoffs.
RBC Royal Bank donated $5,000 to Parasport PEI toward the sledge hockey program. Bank employees also came out as volunteers for the national tournament. There were also several giveaways to the fans during the week.
As a footnote, just days after the RBC tourney, there was a possibility the Capitals would be gone from Summerside after a breakdown in negotiations between the team and the City. GM Pat McIver said the team had been losing money for at least seven seasons and needed a better deal. The front office had been working for months on a new contract for 2013-14 and it appeared they would have no other choice but to move as a deadline approached. The City’s offer had been rejected. It was also known the owners, George and Marybeth Roberts had the club up for sale which would be affected by continued negotiations on a contract. The Caps had been in Summerside for 32 years.
In the end a deal was struck and the team continued to play at the Eastlink Arena at Credit Union Place. New local ownership was found as well headed by several Summerside business people.
Surrey Eagles vs Summerside Western Capitals
Forward Christopher Caissy was the overtime hero in a 3-2 overtime semi-final victory for Summerside
The opening faceoff of the 2013 RBC Final
Caps Forward Scott Trask is stopped by the Truro net in the MHL Kent Cup Finals
Caps #28 Chris Caissy scored at 10.20 in the first to cut the Bandits lead to 2-1
Brooks holds on to win & celebrates an RBC title
2013 Royal Bank Cup – Summerside Western Capitals
Bandits #15 Cam Mclise set up the first goal & iced the game with an empty netter
Alex Gallant hoists the Kent Cup after blanking Truro 3-0 on April 24, 2013