SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Philip Fife scored the winner with 9:32 remaining, lifting the Truro Bearcats to their first win of the 2013 RBC Cup, 4-2 over the Summerside Western Capitals in Thursday night’s preliminary round finale.
It’s the second time in less than two weeks Fife has scored a game-deciding goal for Truro to beat Summerside; he had the double overtime winner in the Fred Page Cup final on May 5.
Kyle Morrison, Adam Guy and Zack Evans-Renaud had the other goals for Truro (1-3), which knew win or lose its season would end on Thursday night. It had been mathematically eliminated on Tuesday after a loss to Minnesota.
Guy finished with a goal and an assist while Bearcats netminder Shayne Campbell, who had struggled in his first three starts and came into Thursday night’s game with a .577 save percentage and 11.83 goals-against average, earned the victory by making 19 saves.
Scott Trask and Craig MacLauchlan scored for Summerside (2-2), which missed out on a chance to finish in second place and will instead be the visiting team for Saturday’s semifinal against Surrey (6 p.m. AT).
Being the visitors may not be a bad thing for the Western Capitals; they won both of their preliminary round games as the “road” team, wearing white retro jerseys to honour the 1997 Summerside team that won the RBC Cup.
Trask had a goal and an assist in front of goaltender Jacob Riley, who got his first start since March 23 against Miramichi and finished with 33 saves in a losing cause.
Summerside got on the board first off the stick of Trask at 9:44, followed less than three minutes later by MacLauchlan, who came down the right wing and beat Campbell short-side over the glove for a 2-0 Western Capitals lead.
But that would be the last puck to beat Campbell, who stopped all 15 shots he faced in the final 40 minutes.
Morrison, Truro’s leading scorer in the regular season and playoffs, finally got his first goal of the tournament seven minutes into the second period, cutting into the middle of the ice and wiring a wrist shot past Riley.
Guy tied the game in the last minute of the middle frame, letting go a shot that squeezed through Riley, sending the MHL rivals to the dressing room tied 2-2 after two.
Fife’s game-winner was very similar to his Fred Page Cup clincher – on a breakaway, he went high to the blocker side; the only difference was the goaltender, beating Riley instead of Kevin Bailie, who watched from the bench after getting Summerside’s first three starts.
Evans-Renaud rounded out the scoring into an empty net with 23 seconds to go.
The game was the 12th meeting of the season between the teams, who finished with six wins apiece. They split their four games in the regular season before the Western Capitals beat Truro in five games in the MHL final. The Bearcats won their final three meetings – two at the Fred Page Cup and Thursday’s game.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)