Thanks to a cancellation — with more of those to come — the Cowichan Valley Capitals played just one game last weekend, a 4-2 loss to the Langley Rivermen on Friday night.
Capitals head coach Brian Passmore would have liked a different result, but he felt his team played a solid game against the top team in the B.C. Hockey League’s Coastal Conference.
“They’re a very good team,” Passmore said of the Rivermen. “It was a good game. We made a couple of mistakes in the second period and they capitalized. They play a really good defensive game, so it comes down to mistakes, and we made too many.”
The Caps stuck close with the Rivermen for much of the game. After Langley opened the scoring, Massimo Sarantos Lombardi potted his fifth of the season to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes. Former Cap Max Bulawka put the Rivermen up again with a shorthanded goal in the second period, but Sam Schofield made it 2-2 with his fourth of the year. Langley went ahead once more late in the second, then added an empty-netter in the final minute of the third period.
Recently inked Cowichan goalie McCoy Bidewell made his home debut against the Rivermen and stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced, but had to settle for his third loss in as many games.
“He’s a solid goalie,” Passmore said. “He was playing well in junior B, and he came up to this level and he looks like he fits right in. He showed good poise.”
Along with Evan May and Ben Montgomery, the Caps are carrying three netminders right now, which makes things interesting.
“It’s a battle for one net, and the other two have been here the whole season,” Passmore noted. “They’re all good goalies. It does make for a difficult decision but we’re in no rush. We’re just looking for wins at this point. It doesn’t matter who’s in the net. McCoy has done a good job; we just need to get him a win.”
Last Friday’s game also marked the Cowichan debut of Shane LaVelle, who the Caps added in a trade with the Coquitlam Express two days earlier. The 20-year-old forward had eight points in nine games with the Express, and added an assist in his first appearance with the Caps. In the trade for LaVelle, the Caps gave up 18-year-old defenceman Owen Simpson, who the Express immediately shuffled off to the Penticton Vees for forward Luke Vardy.
In contrast to last weekend, the Caps will play three games in three days this weekend. They head to Nanaimo on Friday in search of their first win against an Island opponent this season, then play at home against Surrey on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Chilliwack on Sunday at 2 p.m.
All the Caps’ games from here on in will be against Coastal Conference opponents, as the BCHL has cancelled all out-of-conference games for the remainder of the 2021-22 season due to unpredictable road and weather conditions.
“It’s unfortunate that the guys do not get to experience the travel out of conference for games this season,” Passmore commented. “The league couldn’t go on rescheduling and eliminating games on the schedule week after week, so we understand the decision to eliminate out of conference games for the remainder of the season.”