The Cowichan Valley Capitals had one of their best weekends of the B.C. Hockey League season so far, picking up three points with a win over the Nanaimo Clippers on Friday and a shootout loss to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Sunday sandwiched around a regulation loss to the Surrey Eagles on Saturday.
Not surprisingly, morale among the players is high as the team rides a wave of strong hockey.
“They stuck together as a team,” Capitals head coach Brian Passmore said. “Even when we went down early on Saturday, there was no negativity; everyone stuck together.”
Defencemen Nick Marciano and Colin Campbell each had a goal and an assist as the Caps earned their first win of the season over an Island opponent, beating the Clippers 3-2 in Nanaimo on Friday.
“We played well in their building,” Passmore commented. “The big thing was getting out to a two-goal lead and not panicking when they scored late and pulled their goalie.”
Marciano opened the scoring on a first-period powerplay, but the Clippers came back to tie the score. Campbell put the Caps ahead again in the second, and centre Sam Schofield made it 3-1 at 11:41 of the third. Schofield’s goal stood up as the winner after the Clippers scored one more with under two minutes left in regulation. McCoy Bidewell made 34 saves as the Caps were outshot 36-30.
Back at The Big Stick on Saturday night, the Caps fell behind early when the Eagles opened the scoring just 36 seconds in, and never completely recovered, losing 6-3.
“We didn’t come out the same way and shot ourselves in the foot kind of right away,” Passmore said. “They scored three goals in the first 10 minutes, and we were playing catch-up the whole game. We came back to make it 4-2, and then we gave up a shorthanded goal, which can be deflating at that point, but there was no quit. It was just one of those games where we didn’t show up on time and it cost us the game.”
It was 3-0 for Surrey before Schofield got the Caps on the board with just over five minutes left in the first period. The Eagles made it 4-1 early in the second. David Jacobs scored a powerplay goal late in the second, but the Caps surrendered a shorthanded goal on their next powerplay immediately afterward. Brett Fudger got the Caps back within two, but the Eagles added one more late. Bidewell gave up five goals in over 26 minutes and 55 seconds, and Evan May allowed one goal over the balance of the game.
On Sunday, the Caps battled the Chiefs, the No. 2 team in the Coastal Conference, to a standstill through regulation and overtime before settling for a single point in a 3-2 shootout loss.
The Chiefs opened the scoring, but the Caps pulled ahead on back-to-back powerplay goals from Luke Haymes in the second period and Shane LaVelle in the third. The Chiefs tied the score with just under four minutes left in regulation to force overtime. The Caps killed off a penalty to Massimo Sarantos Lombardi in overtime to reach the shootout.
The Chiefs first shooter, Kienan Draper, was the only one to score. His team’s next two shooters and all three Cowichan shooters — Matteo Turrin, David Jacobs and Nick Marciano — came up empty. May made 50 saves as the Caps were outshot 52-34.
“I wish we could have scored one [in the shootout],” Passmore said. “But it was good for our kids to take the point and keep building from that.”
The Caps will hit the road this weekend for games against the Powell River Kings on Friday and Chiefs on Saturday.