Five games into the 2021-22 B.C. Hockey League season, the Cowichan Valley Capitals are still looking for their first win.
After going winless on opening weekend, the Caps lost back-to-back games at home against the Victoria Grizzlies last week, 5-1 on Wednesday and 7-3 on Saturday, then travelled to Port Alberni on Sunday, where they were beaten 6-2 by the host Bulldogs
“I think the kids are frustrated with what’s been happening at this point,” head coach Brian Passmore conceded. “We’ve played five games in nine days, we’ve had injuries, and we’ve had some terrible second periods. They haven’t quit; the kids are showing pride in the third period and fighting back, but our second periods are going off track.”
Over their last three games, the Caps have been outscored 13-2 in the second period, but have outscored their opponents 6-4 in the third.
“The cure is we need to win battles and check better,” Passmore said. “We’re giving up easy goals and poor decision making is hurting us.”
Brett Fudger scored the Cowichan’s lone goal against Victoria last Wednesday with less than four minutes remaining in the game, and after the Grizzlies had already taken a 5-0 lead.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies needed just 31 seconds to open the scoring in the first period. The Caps got that one back later in the frame when defenceman Colin Campbell scored his first of the year. The Grizzlies went ahead again 31 seconds into the middle frame, and Daniel North got the Caps back into the game before Victoria scored three in a row. Sam Schofield scored for the Caps early in the third, and the Grizzlies added one more on the powerplay.
Cowichan defenceman Owen Simpson opened the scoring in Port Alberni on Sunday and assisted on Schofield’s third-period marker for his first two BCHL points, but the Bulldogs did all the scoring in between.
It was a rough week for Cowichan’s goalies. Evan May made 30 saves as the Caps were outshot 35-28 on Wednesday. Ben Montgomery made his first BCHL start on Saturday, and allowed six goals on 26 shots before he was replaced by May, who stopped 16 of 17 shots. May started again on Sunday and allowed six goals on 29 shots before Montgomery made 11 stops in the third. The Caps were outshot 40-21 on Sunday.
With three or four players missing due to injury each game, the Caps haven’t been able to ice their ideal lineup yet, either. They’ve added a handful of new players over the last week, including 6-foot-4 19-year-old defenceman Ian Kern.
Also coming on board are Saskatoon-born brothers Jordan and Matty Edwards, who also picked up a helper apiece against the Grizzlies. Jordan is a 19-year-old blueliner while Matty is a 16-year-old forward who has already attracted interest from Div. 1 universities.
All three newcomers registered assists in their Cowichan debuts.
After opening the season with five games against the same two teams, the Caps will see some new faces this weekend when they travel to Chilliwack for the annual BCHL Showcase. They will play their first-ever game against the Cranbrook Bucks on Saturday, then take on the Merritt Centennials on Sunday.
The Bucks are 2-2 going into the Showcase, while the Centennials, like the Caps, are still hunting for their first victory.