The Cowichan Valley Capitals beat the Powell River Kings 5-2 on Sunday afternoon to collect a lone victory from an otherwise frustrating weekend.
Before beating the Kings, the Caps had started the weekend with a 4-3 overtime loss to the Victoria Grizzlies at the Q Centre on Friday, then were crushed 7-3 at home by the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday.
“Thank God,” Capitals head coach Bob Beatty said. “It would have been a long week if we didn’t get that win, but we did salvage something from the weekend. I thought we did have some gas in the tank and a real good work ethic in the third.”
The teams traded goals in the first and second periods, the Caps getting theirs from defenceman Sean Driscoll, who scored his first goal of the season, and forward Rhett Kingston, who converted on the powerplay. Cowichan took a 3-2 lead when Max Newton scored at 16:18 of the third period, then got a pair of empty-netters from Jared Domin and Ayden MacDonald in the last minute and a half.
“It could have gone either way, with the winning goal going in with four minutes left, but we executed pretty well.”
Lane Michasiw earned the win in net with 21 saves on 23 shots, while Powell River’s Mitch Adamyk turned aside 26 of the 29 shots he faced.
The Caps started the weekend by stumbling to a double-overtime loss to the Grizzlies.
Michael Montambault, Max Newton and George Sennott scored in the first period, the latter two goals coming on the powerplay, as the Caps jumped out to a convincing lead that didn’t hold up.
“We got off to a great start, but I think we gifted Victoria with a couple of points we didn’t need to, obviously, in a divisional game,” Beatty said.
The Grizzlies scored once in the second period and twice in the third, tying the score with their goalie pulled for an extra attacker.
“Anything can happen six-on-five, and it turned out to be obviously the worst-case scenario,” Beatty said.
Five minutes of four-on-four overtime solved nothing, so the teams played another period at three-on-three, and Jake Stevens was able to end it in the Grizzlies’ favour three minutes and 23 seconds in. Despite the loss, Lane Michasiw was brilliant in net, stopping 48 of 52 shots, while Matthew Galajda made 29 saves in the Victoria net.
The Caps did get a single point for the overtime defeat, but Beatty wasn’t thrilled about that.
“It’s not much of a consolation when we could have had two points,” he said. “It certainly left a bitter taste.”
Back home on Saturday, the Caps lost an up-and-down game against Trail.
Trail got a goal from former Cowichan forward Luke Santerno in the first period and three more in the second to take a lead that appeared insurmountable. The Caps rallied in the third, getting goals from Jared Domin at 1:55 and Ayden MacDonald 30 seconds later before Nii Noi Tetteh potted his first of the season on the powerplay — against his former team — at 12:48 to get the Caps within a goal.
The Smokies weren’t done, however, and scored three times in the last two minutes and five seconds to hammer the win home.
Adam Marcoux had a rough outing in the Cowichan net, allowing seven goals on 32 shots, while Trail goalie Linden Marshall stopped 25 of the 28 pucks he faced.
“We made a game of it in the third,” Beatty said. “I didn’t like our game, though, especially in the first. It was an opportunity that we missed, a game in hand on our divisional opponents, and we blew it. I don’t think we played our best. Trail is a pretty good hockey club — they won three games on their road trip — so not to take anything away from them.”
The good news out of the weekend was that the Caps’ three points moved them into first place in the Island Division. Although they are tied with the Grizzlies at 16 points apiece, the Caps have seven wins to the Grizzlies’ six, giving them a slight edge.
The Caps have a huge opportunity to pull away from the Grizzlies as the rivals play a home-and-home series this weekend, returning to the Q Centre on Friday, then playing at the Island Savings Centre on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“This early in the season, a home-and-home for first is pretty exciting,” Beatty said. “It’s a big weekend for us. We’re looking forward to it.”