Big effort gets Caps past Powell River

Battling the flu and the injury bug and coming back from a week off, the Cowichan Valley Capitals rallied on Sunday afternoon to collect a valuable victory over the Powell River Kings.

Ryan Burton and Skylar Pacheco each had a goal and an assist on Sunday afternoon as the Caps returned from the B.C. Hockey League’s Christmas break with a 6-2 at the Island Savings Centre. Four players missed the game altogether, and several more were playing sick.

“It was a really good effort,” head coach Bob Beatty said. “We’re short-staffed. We’ve got a flu bug going through the team. And it’s kind of odd, having everybody apart for a week. It was definitely a gutsy effort.”

Burton scored the opening goal midway through the first period and set up Pacheco’s goal, the Caps’ sixth, late in the second.

The Caps carried a 1-0 lead into the second period, and piled onto it with a shorthanded effort from captain Kyle Horsman, a powerplay goal by Jesse Neher, and an even-strength marker by Sean Harrison to go up 4-0.

“It’s always nice to play with a lead,” Beatty said. “They have a bit more confidence.”

The Kings finally solved Cowichan netminder Lane Michasiw with a powerplay goal of their own. The Caps weren’t done scoring for that period yet, as Luke Santerno and Pacheco added on to the deluge. The Kings had the only goal of the third frame.

Jacob Switzer finished the game with two assists, while Michasiw was brilliant, making 39 saves on 41 shots.

“He’s had some really strong games for us,” Beatty said. “He’s playing well, making key saves at key times.”

The win was the Caps’ 12th of the season, giving them 26 points, still 10 back of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for the last Island Division playoff spot. The Bulldogs have five games in hand on the Caps.

“Any wins are good,” Beatty said. “We’re trying to scratch and claw our way back into contention.”

The Caps wrapped up the 2014 portion of their schedule with a road game against the Victoria Grizzlies on Tuesday. They will visit the Grizzlies again on Friday, then play at home on Saturday against the league-worst Surrey Eagles before travelling to Port Alberni on Sunday for a crucial meeting with the Bulldogs.