Kevin Rothbauer Citizen
Before his team’s B.C. Hockey League season opener, Cowichan Valley Capitals head coach Bob Beatty said his team was going to have to score by committee in order to win games this year.
That’s exactly what the Caps did. Eleven different players recorded points, all in the third period, as the team opened the 2016-17 campaign with a 4-2 victory over the Powell River Kings.
“I honestly thought we had played a pretty good game [in the first two periods],” Beatty said. “We just weren’t getting the puck in the net. The first goal, I wouldn’t say it broke things open, but we needed to keep putting pucks on net and we’d get the bounces.”
The Kings went into the third with a 1-0 lead courtesy of a goal in the opening minute of the second period, but veteran defenceman Ben Verrall got one of those lucky bounces to tie the score a minute and 32 seconds into the final frame. Less than two minutes later, rookie Alec Zawatsky capitalized on a rush with linemates Nick Wilson and George Sennott to put his team up 2-1.
Jared Domin scored at 6:16 of the third, and Max Newton scored his first goal as a Capital on the powerplay with just over five and a half minutes left to play. The Kings got a powerplay marker of their own to pull back within two, but the Caps held them off after that.
Ryan Hogg finished the game with two assists, while Wilson, Sennott, Josh Owings, Michael Montambault, Ayden MacDonald and Chris Harpur had one helper apiece.
“It was a good contribution from all four lines,” Beatty said. “I thought it was a pretty good effort.”
The coach was particularly pleased with his young players, including the all-rookie trio of Zawatsky, Wilson and Sennott.
“I was pretty impressed with the patience and effort,” he said. “They showed a lot of composure for young guys playing their first game in the league.”
Although all his team’s goals were scored in the last 20 minutes, Beatty thought his team played a complete game.
“I was pleased with our start,” he said. “I thought we played well. We had a good opening period. Obviously, I liked the score in the third, but I thought we played a good 60 minutes.”
Cowichan goalie Lane Michasiw stopped 23 of 25 shots to get the win, out-dueling Powell River’s Brian Wilson, who allowed four goals on 26 shots.
“[Michasiw] was impressive,” Beatty said. “He played very well.”
Coming into the season with high expectations, the Kings are off to a rocky 0-3 start, although they have yet to play a home game. Beatty doesn’t feel they can be written off yet.
“They’ve got a veteran group, an excellent lineup,” he said. “It’s just the first weekend.”
Nor is he satisfied with winning his own team’s season opener.
“It’s only one game,” he emphasized. “We’ve got 57 more to go. It’s something to build on, though.”
The Caps played host to the Victoria Grizzlies on Tuesday evening, and will finish a home-and-home series with Victoria at the Q Centre on Saturday before playing host to the Penticton Vees on Sunday afternoon.
“We don’t have an easy start to the schedule,” Beatty admitted. “Victoria was pretty impressive in their exhibition games, and Penticton is hosting [the Western Canada Cup] this year, and they’re a perennial favourite. We’ll have our hands full, but if we can play with the same consistency, we’ll be fine.”