Summerside defeat Amherst, advance to Metalfab MHL Cup Final

(Photo: Jason Simmonds)

The Summerside Western Capitals have advanced to the Metalfab MHL Cup Final to face the Eastlink North champion Miramichi Timberwolves after defeating the Amherst Ramblers in six games. Summerside was last in the Maritime Junior Hockey League Final in 2021-22 when they beat the Truro Bearcats in five games.

MHL President Connor Cameron presents the Eastlink South Division trophy to Summerside captain Conor Keough (Photo: Jason Simmonds)

Home ice advantage was the story of the series through the first five games with the visitors unable to break through. After a 1-1 tie through 20 minutes in Game 1 at Credit Union Place, Summerside blew the game wide open with six goals in the first 13:17 of the 2nd period to take a 7-1 lead and cruise to an 8-2 victory. Seven different players scored for Summerside. Blake Eastman led the way with two goals and an assist.

Heading to Amherst for Game 2, Drew MacIntyre put the Ramblers up 1-0 with a late goal in the 1st period. Jaden Reyers, Joachim Matulu (on the powerplay), and Anthony Gaudet added goals in the 2nd period for Amherst. Reyers added an empty net goal in the 3rd as the Ramblers evened the series with a 5-0 win. Goaltender Lym LeBlanc was outstanding, making 50 saves for the shutout after allowing four goals and being pulled halfway through Game 1.

Game 3 saw another 8-2 win for Summerside on home ice, taking a 2-1 series lead. Amherst had a 1-0 lead after the 1st period thanks to a goal from Christian Reardon, but the 2nd period again belonged to Summerside as they scored five times. Robbie Rutledge and Dominik Godin each had two goals and two assists for the Western Capitals, who outshot Amherst 39-28.

The pattern continued in Game 4, as the game was much tighter in Amherst. The Ramblers scored the first goal for the fourth time in the series, this time from Reardon. Rutledge evened the game early in the 2nd period, but MacIntyre (PP) and Mark Corbett scored just under three minutes apart to put the Ramblers up 3-1. Brennan Murphy scored at 17:33 to get Summerside back within one goal heading to the 3rd period. At 1:19 of the 3rd, Godin scored an unassisted goal on the powerplay to tie the game 3-3 and the teams would head to overtime. At 6:42 of the extra frame, Drew MacIntyre took advantage of an Amherst faceoff win to score the game-winner for a 4-3 victory and tie the series at 2.

As the Eastlink South Division Final now became a best-of-three, Summerside took early control of Game 5. Paul Hughes got the Western Capitals on the board at 15:34 of the 1st period. In the 2nd, Summerside went up 4-0 with goals from Eastman, Hughes, and Ryder Howatt. Alex Christmas scored at 14:15 to get Amherst on the board, but they trailed Summerside 4-1 after 40 minutes. In the 3rd, Gaudet and Reyers scored to get Amherst within one, but Summerside held on for the 4-3 win and a 3-2 series lead.

In Game 6, back in Amherst, Trentyn Crane got the visitors on the board at 8:31 of the 1st period. Jonah Jelley answered for the Ramblers at 12:21 on the powerplay. There was no scoring in the 2nd period. Rutledge scored his fifth goal of the series at 6:01 of the 3rd period to give Summerside the lead back. As time ticked away, Jelley netted his second goal of the game to tie things at 2 and the teams were off to overtime for the second time in the series. Summerside outshot Amherst 14-3 in the 10-minute period, but neither team could score so they were off to a second overtime where Eastman scored the series-clinching goal just 42 seconds in to give the Western Capitals a 3-2 win and a 4-2 series victory.

The schedule for the Metalfab MHL Cup Final will be released when available. Summerside will have home ice advantage against Miramichi.