Kevin Rothbauer Citizen
Although his team only picked up one win, head coach Bob Beatty was pleased with the performance the Cowichan Valley Capitals delivered in two B.C. Hockey League games at the Island Savings Centre last weekend.
The Caps beat the Vernon Vipers 5-2 on Friday, then lost to the Chilliwack Chiefs by a 3-1 score on Saturday.
“They’re two good teams,” Beatty said. “We played pretty well both nights. Obviously, I liked the result of the Vernon game better; we put the puck in the net, but we played well against Chilliwack.”
The Vipers scored the only goal of the first period on Friday, then went up 2-0 at 10:58 of the second. Ben Verrall scored a powerplay goal for the Caps at 13:05, and Cowichan added four unanswered markers in the third from Max Newton, Ayden MacDonald, Nii Noi Tetteh and Ty Pochipinski.
Newton and Tetteh finished the game with a goal and an assist each, while Chris Harpur and George Sennott each had two helpers. Lane Michasiw made 35 saves for the win.
Even before the game started, the Vipers were robbed — literally.
Vipers head coach Mark Ferner confronted a teen in the team’s dressing room just before warmup.
“I asked who he was and what he was doing in there,” Ferner told the Vernon Morning Star. “He ran and I chased him. The guys were out for a run and they jumped on him and got their cash and jewelry back. He was 16 and the police know him.”
On Saturday, the Chiefs opened the scoring in the last minute of the first period, but Nick Wilson responded for the Caps with his second goal of the year at 3:37 of the second. A shorthanded marker put the Chiefs back in front with two and a half minutes remaining in the middle frame. The game remained close until the Chiefs iced it on an empty-netter with 14 seconds left. Michasiw finished with 33 saves.
The Caps had several powerplay opportunities in the third period, including a four-minute advantage that overlapped by 17 seconds with the end of a two-minute advantage.
“We had chances to tie it up,” Beatty said. “It was a real goaltenders duel. Lane kept us in the game. Their goalie [Mark Sinclair] played well. We just couldn’t buy a goal.”
Saturday’s game marked the Cowichan debut for Trevor Ayre, who was acquired last Thursday from the Langley Rivermen in exchange for fellow 18-year-old forward Darren Hards. Ayre had three goals and three assists in 16 games for Langley this season after compiling 10 points in 45 appearances as a rookie last year. Hards, who the Caps picked up over the offseason from the Surrey Eagles, had three points in 13 games for Cowichan this season.
“He’s got good speed, a good skill set,” Beatty said of Ayre. “He scored 55 points two years ago in major midget. And he’s a ’98, so he’s young. He’s capable of putting some pucks in the net for us.”
After the weekend split, the Caps are still in third place in the Island Division with 11 wins, eight losses, two overtime losses and one tie for 25 points.
The Victoria Grizzlies and Powell River Kings are tied for first place with 31 points apiece, while the Nanaimo Clippers are fourth with 24. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs sit well back with just 13 points.
The Caps still have two games left on their lengthy home stand as they host the Nanaimo Clippers this Friday at 7 p.m. and the Surrey Eagles on Sunday at 3 p.m. After this, they play nine of their next 11 contests on the road.
“They’re all big now with the standings so close, but it’s a four-pointer against Nanaimo on Friday night,” Beatty said. “It’s important to capitalize, for sure.”
This Friday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Appreciation Night. All veterans and current military personnel get into the game for free.