It was a disappointing result to begin the 2013 Royal Bank Cup Canadian national junior A championship in Summerside, P.E.I. for the Minnesota Wilderness as they were bounced 5-1 by the host Summerside Western Capitals Saturday in day 1 competition.
The Superior International Junior Hockey League and Dudley-Hewitt Cup champion Wilderness opened the scoring midway through the first period capitalizing on a three-on-one as a hard-charging Danny Bartkowiak tapped in the initial tally past Summerside starter Kevin Bailie.
After the Western Capitals netminder thwarted Jeremy Johnson on a deflection, the host team countered quickly on a nice individual effort by Chris Caissy, who split the Minnesota defence before backhanding the equalizer over the outstretched pad of Wilderness goalkeeper Gordy Defiel at 16:03.
Then after successfully killing off a full two-minute, five-on-three man disadvantage, Summerside took lead for good in the final minute of the stanza as J.P. Harvey found the back of the net picking up the eventual game-winner.
Early in the middle frame the Maritime Hockey League title holders extended their cushion as Justin Rasmussen backhanded a harmless looking shot that fooled a falling Defiel from the right face-off circle.
They continued to build on their momentum as Danny Chiasson took a long pass and blew past a Minnesota defender before notching another backhanded effort at 4:08 of the second, spelling an early end to Defiel’s night in favour of JoJo Jeanetta.
Despite multiple power play opportunities to get back into the game, Ballie and the rest of the Western Capitals kept the Wilderness off balance as they earned the opening night victory.
Needing goals to back into it, Minnesota pulled Jeanetta with three-plus minutes remaining, but Chaisson iced it scoring into the empty for his second of the evening to round out the scoring.
Baillie finished with 25 saves in picking up the opening night triumph.
Defiel was saddled with the loss allowing four goals on 14 shots while Jeanetta turned aside all 11 attempts he faced in relief.
Caissy, of the home side, and Nick McCormack of the Wilderness earned their respective team player of the game honours.
Earlier in the day, game 1 of the RBC saw the Brooks Bandits (AJHL) roll over the Truro Bearcats (MHL) by a 7-1 score with Cam Maclise firing a hat-trick to pace the Alberta Junior Hockey League champions offensively.
Minnesota returns to game action Sunday evening at 7:30 p.m. AT as they take on Brooks. (1-0)
Sunday’s other contest features Truro (0-1) taking on the Surrey Eagles (BCHL) (0-0) at 3 p.m. AT.
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