After losing two more B.C. Hockey League games – 8-1 to the Nanaimo Clippers last Wednesday and 6-1 to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Sunday – the Cowichan Valley Capitals made a bold move on Monday, trading their leading scorer, Brayden Gelsinger, to the West Kelowna Warriors in exchange for two new players.
Coming to Cowichan in the swap are forwards Adam Osczevski, who will turn 19 later this month, and Kade Kehoe, 18. Both players hail from Saskatchewan, where Beatty coached before joining the Caps.
"Brayden had asked for a change," Caps head coach and general manager Bob Beatty related. "Those two players we got are familiar to me and to our scouting staff. We’re happy to get them on board. I think they’ll fit the mould quite nicely."
Gelsinger had led the Caps in scoring, racking up 19 points on six goals and 13 assists in 17 games, and was among the scoring leaders last year, with 38 points in 55 games. Kehoe has four points (two goals and two assists) in 11 games this year, while Osczevski has three points (one goal and two assists) in 13 games.
"Brayden is an explosive skater that’s had a great start to the season this year, and he had a pretty good season last year as well," Beatty said. "At the same time, I think we’re getting two players who play with grit and skill and play the right way."
The Caps’ last two games before Monday’s trade might have had similar final scores, but the games themselves were anything but identical, Beatty said.
The Caps trailed the Clippers 3-0 after two periods last Wednesday, but appeared to get back in the game when captain Kyle Horsman scored four minutes into the third. The Clippers then potted four unanswered goals, including three after a lengthy delay when a shot from Cowichan defenceman Skylar Pacheco broke a pane of glass.
"That one kind of got away from us late in the game," Beatty admitted. "I did think we laid down a little bit. There wasn’t enough intensity."
Sunday’s game was a different story, Beatty felt, as the players refused to back down, even in the face of daunting odds.
"The guys went hard regardless of what the score was," the coach said.
The teams traded goals in the first period, with Gelsinger scoring his final goal as a Capital, and the score remained tied at 1-1 midway through the second, when Cowichan defenceman Rylan Bechtel was sentenced to seven minutes in the penalty box, and the Bulldogs capitalized three times on the ensuing powerplay.
"That was a turning point in the game, no question," Beatty said.
The Bulldogs added two more goals in the third period, including one on the powerplay, but Beatty was pleased to see his team continue to battle.
"It wasn’t that disappointing an effort," he said. "I was disappointed with the result, as was everybody else. If we can take any positive out of it, I thought we still went hard right until the last shift, even though it was 6-1 at that point."
The Caps will play host to the Powell River Kings this Friday at 7 p.m. and the Penticton Vees on Sunday at 2 p.m. "It’s parents weekend, so we’re hoping that the guys will be playing with some pride, and certainly we hope to start off with a win. The competition is tough, but it is every game. We’ve got to get going."