SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – Danny Chiasson scored twice, the last two of five unanswered goals, as the Summerside Western Capitals opened the 2013 RBC Cup with a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Wilderness on Saturday night in front of 2,576 fans at CUP.
The game was the first in tournament history to feature an American team, but it was the Western Capitals who got the victory, becoming the sixth host team in the last 10 years to open with a ‘W’.
Christopher Caissy, JP Harvey and Justin Rasmussen scored the other goals for Summerside (1-0), which improved to 3-0 in tournament openers as the host team; it beat the Thunder Bay Flyers 5-4 in 1989, and topped the Rayside Balfour Sabrecats 5-1 in 1997.
The win over the Sabrecats was the lone preliminary round victory for the Western Capitals in 1997, although they went on to win the national championship on home ice.
Nick Szopinski had the lone goal for Minnesota (0-1), which lost in regulation time for just the third time in its last 56 games. The four-goal loss equals the largest margin of defeat for the Wilderness this season.
Szopinski got the scoring started just shy of the nine-minute mark of the first period, finishing off a three-on-one by jamming the puck past Summerside goaltender Kevin Bailie, but Caissy drew the Western Capitals even just over seven minutes later.
Summerside killed off a two-minute five-on-three just seconds after Caissy’s goal, and Harvey gave the hosts the lead for good at 19:29 of the opening frame, finding a loose puck and snapping a shot past Wilderness netminder Gordy Defiel.
Summerside pulled away early in the second period; first it was Rasmussen who cut in off the right wing and snuck a backhand just inside the far post, followed by Chiasson, who slid a shot through Defiel’s five-hole not even two minutes later.
The Chiasson goal meant the end of the night for Defiel, who was replaced by Joseph Jeanetta.
With Minnesota unable to cut into the lead in the second and third periods, despite holding the advantage in shots on goal for much of the game, Chiasson rounded out the scoring into an empty net with 3:17 to go.
Shots finished even at 26-26; Bailie finished with 25 saves, while Defiel and Jeanetta combined to make 21 stops.
Summerside will enjoy an off day Sunday before facing the Surrey Eagles in Monday’s lone game (7:30 p.m. AT), while Minnesota will face another stuff challenge when it takes on the Brooks Bandits on Sunday night (7:30 p.m. AT).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)