The Cowichan Valley Capitals put an end to their own three-game losing streak while handing the Alberni Valley Bulldogs their first regulation loss on home ice this season.
Primo Self had two goals and two assists, and Will Arquiett also scored twice to lead the Caps to a 6-4 win over the Bulldogs at Weyerhauser Arena, the first time in the 2019-20 B.C. Hockey League season that the Bulldogs have lost a 60-minute game in their own arena.
That does come with the caveat, of course, that the Bulldogs had to postpone three home games and relocate two others due to problems at their arena. In fact, Saturday’s game was originally scheduled as a Capitals home date, but the teams swapped hosting duties, with Alberni visiting Cowichan on Nov. 23.
Cole Broadhurst and Arquiett scored in the first period, but the Bulldogs tied the score at 2-2 in the first seven minutes of the second period. Arquiett put the Caps up again at 16:37, and the Bulldogs drew even once more a minute and 13 seconds later. Self potted two in the third and Brady Lynn added one of his own before the Bulldogs rounded out the scoring with a minute and a half left to play. Zach Borgiel made 31 stops as the Caps outshot Alberni 44-35.
The win over the Bulldogs came on the heels of back-to-back losses to the Victoria Grizzlies, both at the Q Centre. The Caps were beaten 4-2 last Tuesday and 4-3 on Friday night.
On Tuesday, the Grizzlies were up 3-0 early in the second — getting a goal and an assist from Duncan-born Kahlil Fontana — before Tanner Sidaway got the Caps on the board. Dimitri Mikrogiannakis got the Caps within one, still in the second, but the Grizzlies iced it with one more in the third. Borgiel saved 31 of 35 shots in the Cowichan net, while former Capital Blake Wood stopped 26 of 28 for Victoria.
“That was probably not our best game,” Capitals head coach Mike Vandekamp said. “Yet I still thought their goalie was definitely a factor.”
On Friday, Victoria opened the scoring late in the first period, and led 2-0 on a powerplay goal midway through the second. John Lundy got the Caps on the board just 16 seconds into the third with his first goal for Cowichan in his fifth game.
The Caps brought in Lundy on Nov. 22 after Andy Bridgewater was seriously injured earlier in the month and they needed a replacement forward. Vandekamp was pleased to bring in Lundy, who started the season with the U.S. Hockey League’s Tri-City Storm, without giving anything up. The 2001-born forward from New York City is already committed to the University of Massachusetts Amherst for 2020-21.
“He’s another player I had scouted and seen on a trip to the U.S., and we persuaded him to come here,” Vandekamp noted. “He’s a tenacious guy. He plays a bit bigger than he is. He’s got speed and a lot of skill. He’s a nice addition to the team.”
The Grizzlies scored the next two goals after Lundy’s, but the Caps made it close with goals by Dan McIntyre and Arquiett. McIntyre finished with three points, while Howard stopped 29 shots and Wood made 40 saves.
“We played really good,” Vandekamp said. “It felt like we matched them. The first period, we were dominant, but we had trouble finishing all our chances. The second period, we were in the penalty box, and that took the wind away from us.”
Not dismayed by the result, the Caps took the positives out of Friday’s game into Port Alberni the next night.
With 19 wins, 11 regulation losses, two overtime losses and one shootout defeat, the Caps are still second to the Nanaimo Clippers in the Island Division. They play their next four games at home, starting this weekend when they host the Powell River Kings on Saturday at 6 p.m. and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Saturday is Teddy Bear Toss night, so fans are encouraged to throw stuffed animals onto the ice after the Caps’ first goal. The toys will be donated to people in need.