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Centennial Cup tale of the tape: Looking at the Summerside Western Capitals, the Bombers' next opponents

After winning their first two games of the tournament, the Bombers' next Centennial Cup challenge comes from PEI and the Summerside Western Capitals.
Bombers Sens 5
Bomber Brett Wieschorster gestures at a group of Bomber fans after the team's win against Ottawa May 21.

After winning their first two games of the tournament, the Bombers' next Centennial Cup challenge comes from PEI and the Summerside Western Capitals.

The Caps entered the tournament ranked as the highest team in the Bombers' pool in the CJHL Top 20 rankings at regular season's end, finishing third nationally.

Originally, the Western Capitals were supposed to host this year's Fred Page Cup, a regional tournament between the league champions of the CCHL, MHL, LHJQ and a host team - the winner would go on to represent eastern Canada at the Centennial Cup. When regional tournaments were cancelled earlier this year and the tournament was grown from five to 10 teams, Summerside qualified by winning their league title.

The Caps cruised through the MJHL to a league title with a 12-2 record, beating former Bomber Brandon Cianflone and his Truro Bearcats in the final series in five. In the playoffs, Summerside’s offence saw Jacob Stewart score almost a goal-per-game and Aaron Brown rack up 24 points in 14 games, while regular season top scorer Colby MacArthur had 75 points in only 38 games this year.

Some teams in the tournament boast a small number of players with major junior hockey experience - for instance, the Bombers have three players who played games in the WHL. The Capitals have 14 such players - the most of any team in the tournament.

Out of that group, two players have suited up in more than 100 CHL games - Stewart, who played parts of five seasons and 179 total regular season games with the Moncton Wildcats, as well as Thomas Lacombe, a York Lions commit who suited up for the QMJHL's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada 110 times over three seasons.

The team has just one NCAA Division I committed player for next season - MacArthur, who is en route to Union College next year.

The Capitals won their first game of the tournament against the Soo Thunderbirds, beating them 4-1, but Summerside lost big in their second matchup Sunday, giving up five goals in the second period en route to a 7-1 loss to the Dauphin Kings.

Northern Manitoba hockey fans may recognize two players on the Capitals, forward Trentyn Crane and defender William Irvine. Both players had played for the OCN Blizzard, with Crane suiting up for the team from 2019 to 2020 and Irvine from 2019 until earlier this season, with both playing WHL games during that time.

The game will be played at 4 p.m Saskatchewan time (5 p.m. Manitoba time) May 23, with the game streamable on Hockey Canada's website.

SJHL runners-up How they got here MHL champions
34-21-2-1 Regular season record 31-4-1-2
11 W - 5 L – 2 OTL Playoff record 12 W – 0 L – 2 OTL
1 W (6-1 over Soo), 1 OTW (2-1 over Ottawa) Previous tourney results 1 W (4-1 over Soo), 1 L (7-1 to Dauphin)
Xavier Lapointe (58-19-31-50) Leading scorers (regular season) Colby MacArthur (38-18-57-75)
Zak Smith (50-20-28-48) 2 Thomas Lacombe (38-28-32-60)
Jaxon Martens (58-19-27-46) 3 Josh MacDonald (31-31-28-59)
Drew Kuzma (56-19-25-44) 4 Aaron Brown (33-26-29-55)
Jaeden Mercier (39-18-26-44) 5 Marc Richards (38-23-22-45)
Kuzma (18-9-8-17) Leading scorers (playoff) Brown (14-7-17-24)
Smith (18-9-8-17) 2 Jacob Stewart (14-13-6-19)
Mercier (17-7-7-14) 3 MacArthur (14-8-11-19)
Gabriel Shipper (17-4-10-14) 4 William Irvine (14-4-9-13)
Jacob Vockler (18-6-6-12) 5 Ed McNeill (14-0-13-13)
Cal Schell (41 GP, 2.39 GAA, .923 SV%, 25-12-1-1) Starting goalie Felix-Anthony Ethier (24 GP, 3.10 GAA, .902 SV%, 13-8-1-0)
Mike Reagan Head coach Billy McGuigan
3.55 Goals per game 5.42
2.72 Goals against per game 2.66
Two (Lapointe, Jeremi Tremblay) NCAA Division I committed players One (MacArthur)
Three (Cory King, Smith, Rylan Thiessen) Major junior players 14 (Trentyn Crane, Sam Dow, Ethier, Irvine, Logan Kelly-Murphy, Lacombe, Jacob Leblanc, MacDonald, Brendan McCarthy, McNeill, Carter Murchison, Marc Richard, Stewart, Isaac Wilson)
not ranked CJHL Top 20 ranking (year-end) 3rd