Last Saturday night’s 3-2 win over the visiting Penticton Vees was a huge step for the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
The Caps not only handed the Vees only their second loss of the B.C. Hockey League season, but also showed what they can do when they play their best.
“It was a big game, a hard-fought game,” Capitals head coach Brian Passmore said. “We did a good job of taking care of home ice against a good team.”
The keys to the game for the Caps were tight defence, moving the puck up the ice, not giving Penticton a lot of time in the offensive zone, and limiting their own mistakes.
“There’s been a buy-in from the players,” Passmore commented. “They’re starting to see us getting results or close to results.”
The Vees opened the scoring with a powerplay goal midway through the first period, then went ahead 2-0 on a goal by Duncan’s own Luciano Wilson. Captain Brett Fudger finished off a breakaway to get the Caps on the board late in the first, then Eli Pilosof tied the score in the second period, and Fudger potted his second of the night at 18:04 of the third.
“He’s playing with confidence, and he’s stepped up his offensive game,” Passmore said of the captain. “He’s playing the right way and the opportunities are coming from that.”
Cowichan scoring leader David Jacobs recorded an assist to extend his point streak to seven games, and Ben Montgomery made 32 saves to earn his second win of the year as the Caps outshot the Vees 38-34.
Saturday’s win came 24 hours after the Caps lost 5-3 to the Victoria Grizzlies at the Q Centre, giving up the decisive goal with just 30 seconds left in regulation.
“They took the taste of that one and brought it into Saturday night and surprised a lot of people by winning that one,” Passmore observed.
Pilosof, defenceman Owen Simpson and forward Colten Thompson scored for the Caps on Friday as the teams traded goals throughout the first two periods. The game looked like it was headed for overtime before the Grizzlies went ahead in the final minute, then iced the game with an empty-netter. Montgomery made 31 saves as both teams registered 35 shots on goal.
Last Wednesday, the Caps held a 3-1 lead over the Clippers in Nanaimo just past the four-minute mark of the second period, but gave up five straight and ended up losing 6-3. Arjun Bawa scored twice, Massimo Sarantos Lombardi had the other goal, and Jacobs had a pair of assists. AP goalie Matthew Hutchison, coming off a 51-save outing against the Vernon Vipers, made 29 saves in the loss.
The Caps’ record now stands at three wins and nine losses, although all three victories have come in their last six contests.
“We’re playing the right way,” Passmore said. “We have to do it for a full complete game like we did with Penticton.”
Still looking for their first win against an Island rival this season, the Caps played host to the Clippers on Wednesday night, and will head to Powell River to face the Kings on Friday and Saturday.