Offence has been hard to come by for the Cowichan Valley Capitals as they hit the halfway point in the 2020-21 B.C. Hockey League schedule.
The Caps were outscored 19 goals to one in three games over the past week — their eighth, ninth and 10th contests of the 20-game campaign. They sit last in the Port Alberni Pod with two wins, seven regulation losses and one overtime loss.
“We need to score some goals, for sure,” frustrated head coach Brian Passmore said. “We’re putting shots on net, but we’ve got to start finishing.”
The Caps were shut out 10-0 by the Victoria Grizzlies last Friday and 4-0 by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Saturday. They finally got on the scoresheet on Monday in a 5-1 loss to Victoria.
Victoria’s Carter Woodside turned aside all 19 Cowichan shots on Friday, and Luke Pearson made 40 saves on Saturday. The Caps generated 36 shots against Woodside on Monday. According to Passmore, shot selection is part of the problem, compacted by a lack of players arriving for secondary chances.
“I thought we’ve been playing much better,” the coach said. “We can’t outscore our mistakes right now. The effort is there, but defensively we’re puck-watching and slow moving.”
The Caps had defeated the Grizzlies 3-2 in their only previous meeting of the season prior to last Friday, and the Grizzlies seemed to be out for revenge. After scoring once in the first period and four times in the second, they poured it on with five in the third. Ten different players scored for Victoria. Lucas Pfeil played the first two periods and stopped 20 of 25 shots, while Jayden Shull made 17 saves in the third.
Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey product Braden Blace scored the opening goal and eventual game-winner for the Bulldogs on Saturday. It was the first goal of his BCHL career, coming a week after he registered his first career assist against the Caps. Alberni added two goals in the second and one in the third as Pfeil played all three periods and made 29 saves.
Max Bulawka broke the Caps’ scoreless streak midway through the second period on Monday with his third goal of the season. The Grizzlies had already scored two goals before that, and added three more afterwards. Pfeil stopped 32 of 36 shots in the Cowichan net.
The Caps kicked off a string of three games in four days with an afternoon date with the Nanaimo Clippers on Wednesday. They face the Grizzlies again on Friday and the Bulldogs on Saturday before closing out the month of April against the Grizzlies next Tuesday.
“We’ve got 10 games left,” Passmore noted. “We certainly need to see some finish and get some results. We’ve got to find a way, but that’s up to the players. They’ve got to want it, and they say they do, so they’ve got to get out there and find a way to prove it.”