Cowichan Capitals lose momentum in playoff hunt

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Ian Kern defends the crease in front of goaltender Matthew Hutchison during his team’s 7-1 loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Ian Kern defends the crease in front of goaltender Matthew Hutchison during his team’s 7-1 loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals captain Brett Fudger gets in the way of a Chilliwack Chiefs player during his team’s 7-1 loss on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals captain Brett Fudger gets in the way of a Chilliwack Chiefs player during his team’s 7-1 loss on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Connor Elliott collides with a Chilliwack Chiefs player during his team’s 7-1 loss on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Connor Elliott collides with a Chilliwack Chiefs player during his team’s 7-1 loss on Saturday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Just when momentum seemed to be on the side of the Cowichan Valley Capitals, the wheels came off last week.

Back-to-back wins over the Powell River Kings had given Cowichan an edge in the B.C. Hockey League playoff hunt at the end of February, but the Caps started March with a 2-0 loss to the Kings in Powell River last Wednesday, then dropped two more games at home on the weekend.

“It was not a good week,” Capitals head coach Brian Passmore admitted. “We did not play our best, that’s for sure. We came out flat, got out-skated, outworked. We should be playing desperation hockey.”

Powell River goalie Zak Price made 49 saves to blank the Caps on Wednesday, while McCoy Bidewell stopped 25 of 27 shots, allowing one goal in the second and one in the third.

A hat trick by Massimo Sarantos Lombardi wasn’t enough to save the Caps on Friday night as they dropped an 8-5 decision against the visiting Surrey Eagles. Luke Haymes and Brett Fudger also scored, and Griffin Wilson had three assists. Matthew Hutchison allowed seven goals on 46 shots and the Caps surrendered an empty netter.

On Saturday, the Caps were clobbered 7-1 by the Chilliwack Chiefs. Cowichan trailed just 2-1 after the first thanks to a goal by Fudger, but Chilliwack dominated the rest of the game. Bidewell allowed all seven goals as the Caps were outshot 44-21.

The Caps trail the Kings by one point in the battle for eighth place in the Coastal Conference and the last playoff spot, while the Coquitlam Express have pulled away with a four-point lead over the Kings and had three games in hand going into Wednesday night.

Both Cowichan and Powell River have five games left in the regular season. The Caps are home to the Express this Friday at 7 p.m. and visit the Chiefs on Saturday and the Eagles on Sunday.

BCHL