Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Kahlil Fontana tries to keep the puck away from Bulldogs’ forward Finn Brown. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Kahlil Fontana tries to keep the puck away from Bulldogs’ forward Finn Brown. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)

Cowichan Capitals still looking for first win of pod season

Effort is there, but third-period errors cost Caps

The Cowichan Valley Capitals went winless in their first three games of the pandemic-shortened, pod-based B.C. Hockey League season, but, according to head coach Brian Passmore, it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

“I’m not thrilled with the results,” he said. “I think we deserved a little bit better. We played really hard. It’s been the little things for us that have cost us at the end of games. We’ve given up goals late in game that have cost us.”

The Caps opened the 20-game campaign on Saturday against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, who are hosting all the games for the Vancouver Island-based clubs. Alberni opened the scoring at 4:17 of the first, but the Caps scored the next four goals and held a substantial lead with 12 minutes left to play. The Bulldogs chipped away until they tied the game with three seconds left in regulation, then scored 65 seconds into overtime.

Jacob Brockman and Max Bulawka each had a goal and an assist for the Caps, Joey Moffatt and Tanner Komzak also scored, and Jackson Alexeev had two helpers. Lucas Pfeil stopped 28 of 33 shots in the Cowichan net, while Luke Pearson made 24 saves for Alberni.

The Caps lost 5-2 to the Nanaimo Clippers on Sunday. The Clippers scored twice before Moffatt got the Caps on the board at the end of the first period. After a scoreless second, Nanaimo had three more before Kahlil Fontana notched a powerplay goal with just over five minutes remaining. Jayden Shull made 38 saves for the Caps, and Jordan Naylor had 33 for the Clippers.

Naylor had a 32-save shutout on Tuesday as Nanaimo shut out Cowichan 2-0. Pfeil made 31 stops as the Clippers scored both their goals in the third period.

The games were the first three for the Capitals since a short exhibition season last fall, and many had never skated together before, but Passmore said team chemistry is coming along.

“We have some lines we like and some guys we’d like to see more consistency from,” he said.

Travelling to Port Alberni each game day hasn’t been a problem.

“It’s a lot of time on the bus,” Passmore acknowledged. “So far, so good. We’re getting into a routine right now. The kids get to spend time on the bus together and get to know each other. The challenge right now is just gelling: everyone is just trying to get to know each other.”

The Caps were back in action against Victoria on Wednesday. They face Nanaimo again on Friday and Alberni on Saturday.

BCHL