Three road games in four nights kept the Cowichan Valley Capitals busy last week, but it also gave the coaches a chance to look at some of their newer additions.
Sam Schofield and Ronan Walsh, who were acquired from the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Oct. 16, finally made their Cowichan debuts on Saturday, two weeks after they last skated for their former club. Although the game at the Q Centre ended in an 8-5 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies, both players scored and made good first impressions.
In addition to his goal, the “small but fearless” Schofield added an assist, and showed a willingness to take on The Grizzlies’ biggest player, Andrew Amousse, who holds nine inches and 75 pounds over him.
The score was tied 3-3 going into the third on Saturday, but the Grizzlies were able to pull away.
“We saw that we need to get into a bit better condition,” Cowichan interim head coach Brian Passmore said. “We played well for 40 minutes, but in the 20 minutes we took off, we gave up five goals. We’ll fix that in practice this week.”
Kahlil Fontana and Jacob Brockman added a goal and an assist apiece on Saturday, Sean Ramsay also scored, and Tom Richter had a pair of assists. Lucas Pfeil allowed eight goals on 41 shots before both he and Victoria goalie Blake Wood were tossed — along with Schofield, Walsh and Amousse — for a scrum with two minutes left to play. Jayden Shull played the last two minutes and stopped all seven shots he faced.
Another new addition, Alec Scouras, assisted on Schofield’s opening goal against the Grizzles. Claimed after he was released by the Nanaimo Clippers, Scouras didn’t have to quarantine like Schofield and Walsh did before joining the lineup because the Clippers are currently in the same cohort as the Caps. Scouras played last year with the West Vancouver Academy midget prep team, one of Canada’s best teams in that age group, along with prodigious top WHL draft pick Connor Bedard. Scouras posted 58 points in 33 games With West Van Academy last year.
Two more recent acquisitions from the Vernon Vipers, Colby Feist and Brett Fudger, are still sitting out their mandatory quarantine, and will have been sidelined for a month by the time they get into a game for the Caps next month.
The Caps also lost two games against the Nanaimo Clippers, falling 4-1 on Wednesday, then 4-3 in a shootout on Friday.
“We didn’t have a great effort [Wednesday] night,” Passmore said. “We played sluggish and sloppy, and we had a short lineup. They out-battled and out-competed us. We were better in all those areas on Friday. I thought we deserved a better fate.”
The Clippers were already up 4-0 on Wednesday before Carter Anderson scored a powerplay goal with 1:40 left in the third period. Shull was outstanding on the night with 50 saves, while Nanaimo’s Jordan Naylor faced just 22 shots.
The teams battled back and forth more on Friday, with the Caps doing all their scoring in the second period. Vincent Bernier and Cullen Ferguson each had a goal and an assist, and Tyler Leibl also found the net. No scoring in either the third period or overtime sent the teams to a shootout. Cowichan shooters Fontana, Ferguson and Sean Ramsay were all denied by Naylor, but Nanaimo’s second shooter, Sean Donaldson, beat Pfeil, who was otherwise solid with 42 saves in regulation.
The Caps have this coming weekend off as they prepare to switch cohorts, and will work a lot on conditioning. They return to action on Nov. 8 for the first of six consecutive games against the Powell River Kings — the only team the Caps will face in November.
“They haven’t played yet, so I’m sure they’ve been working on conditioning and skills, playing intrasquad games,” Passmore said. “We’ll get pretty familiar with them. We’re looking forward to getting the full lineup in.”