After missed opportunities against the Nanaimo Clippers last Wednesday night and the Langley Rivermen on Friday, the Cowichan Valley Capitals got back in the win column with a convincing 5-1 effort against the Spruce Kings in Prince George on Saturday.
The Caps fell to the Clippers by a 3-1 score at home last Wednesday.
After a scoreless opening frame, the Clippers got on the board first with a powerplay goal late in the second. They added to the lead just 37 seconds into the third period. Kyle Horsman got the Caps within one with 93 seconds left to play, but the Clippers iced the win with an empty-netter with two seconds remaining.
Lane Michasiw had a strong outing in net, stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced.
"I can’t really fault the effort, but I thought we looked a little bit fatigued," head coach Bob Beatty said. "The effort was there, but we weren’t able to capitalize."
On Friday, the Caps travelled to Langley for a rematch with the Rivermen, who they had defeated at home five days earlier. It wasn’t to be repeated as Langley prevailed 3-2. Although the Caps built up a 2-0 lead on a powerplay goal by Darien Craighead and an even-strength marker by Luke Santerno, the Rivermen answered back with three straight goals. Former Cap Colton Kehler potted the game winner midway through the second period.
Matt Zentner started the game in net, and made 26 saves on 29 shots.
"When they scored with four seconds left in the first period, that was a momentum boost, and then they scored 20 seconds into the second. We had a lot of opportunities we could have scored on, but we couldn’t put it in the back of the net."
Finally after a long bus ride, the Caps got their legs back under them in a hurry as they defeated the Spruce Kings.
The Caps again jumped out to a two-goal lead, but this time they made it stand up. Thomas Gobeil and Jesse Neher had goals in the first three minutes and 29 seconds of the game, and the score remained that way until midway through the third period when the Spruce Kings got on the board.
Sean Harrison restored the two-goal lead on a the powerplay and Brodie Smith potted his first BCHL goal before defenceman Rylan Bechtel wrapped up the scoring with an empty-netter.
Michasiw was back in goal and was outstanding once again, allowing one goal on 43 shots.
"That was a good win for us," Beatty said. "It was fairly tight up to the last 10 minutes of the third. It was a fairly intense game."
The Caps lost two valuable players in the win over Prince George. Gobeil suffered an injury early on, and Horsman was tossed for checking from behind. Gobeil wasn’t available for Tuesday night’s game in Victoria, while Horsman was sitting out the first match of a two-game suspension.
"They’re both centremen and obviously they’re a couple of our best players," Beatty said. "It will certainly be a challenge [without them]."
Defenceman Ben Verrall remains out on a day-to-day basis as well. Affiliate Spencer Loverock has played four games in his absence.
After visiting the Grizzlies on Tuesday the Caps will play a home-and-home series against the Clippers this weekend, in Nanaimo on Friday and back home Saturday at 7 p.m.