After picking up their first two wins of the shortened B.C. Hockey League season last Wednesday and Friday, the Cowichan Valley Capitals suffered back-to-back defeats on Saturday and Tuesday, including a shutout loss on Saturday.
The Caps edged the Victoria Grizzlies last Wednesday and the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday, winning both games by 3-2 final scores. They couldn’t muster any offence, however, on Saturday, as they were shut out by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.
All three games took place at Port Alberni’s Weyerhauser Arena, where the four Vancouver Island teams are playing all their games in a pandemic-necessitated pod.
Max Bulawka scored with 25 seconds left in regulation to give the Caps their first win of the year last Wednesday.
The Caps once again conceded the first goal of the game on a first-period powerplay, but Jackson Alexeev, a veteran of three seasons on the Ontario Junior Hockey League, notched his first BCHL marker to even the score before the frame was over. Joey Moffatt, a former Manitoba Junior Hockey League sniper, gave the Caps the lead early in the second when he potted his third of they year, with rookie Adam Grenier collecting his first BCHL assist. The Grizzlies scored again early in the third period, but Bulawka’s goal came late enough that the Grizzlies didn’t have time to respond.
Lucas Pfeil made 27 stops in the Cowichan net, and Justin Easter and Carter Woodside combined to turn aside 21 of the Caps’ 24 shots. Jacob Brockman assisted on the goals by Alexeev and Bulawka to give him a team-leading four assists and five points.
The Clippers opened the scoring Friday, but Brockman evened things up in the first, then staked the Caps to the lead early in the second. Alexeev gave Cowichan some insurance late in the middle stanza, which proved useful when the Clippers added one early in the third. Pfeil made 35 saves to Jordan Naylor’s 32 in the Nanaimo net, and Kahlil Fontana assisted on both of Brockman’s goals.
On Saturday, Luke Pearson stopped all 22 Cowichan shots, while Shull made 36 in the Capitals’ net. The Bulldogs scored twice in the first and three times in the second, with Cowichan Valley product Braden Blace picked up his first BCHL assist on Alberni’s fourth goal.
Tuesday’s game saw the Nanaimo Clippers take a 4-0 lead before Brockman and Moffatt scored in the third to make a game of it. The Clippers potted one more into the empty net with 18 seconds left in regulation for a 5-2 final score. It was the fourth goal of the season for both Cowichan scorers, who are tied for the team lead. Pfeil made 34 saves for the Caps, and Naylor had 46 for the Clippers.
The Caps, who have surrendered the first goal in each of their seven games this season, sit last in the four-team Port Alberni Pod with two wins, four regulation losses and one overtime loss.
Up next, the team has three games in a four-day span as they face the Grizzles on Friday, the Bulldogs on Saturday, and the Grizzlies again on Monday.