The Cowichan Valley Capitals’ goalies were kept busy last weekend, but managed to keep things close enough that the team collected five of six points.
The Caps beat the Victoria Grizzlies 3-2 at home on Friday, lost 4-3 in overtime to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on the road on Saturday, then doubled up the Surrey Eagles 8-4 at home again on Sunday.
“We shouldn’t be dissatisfied with five of six points, that’s for sure,” head coach Bob Beatty said before expressing some sympathy for his goalies.
“We relied on our goaltending a little too much,” He continued. “I had said before that we weren’t concerned about the volume of shots, but it’s starting to wear a bit, and we’re turning over pucks in the neutral zone. Playing three games in three days is a lot easier for everyone if we play on the offensive side of the blue line. All three games, we gave up too many shots and spent to much time in the defensive zone, for my liking, anyway.”
Starter Storm Phaneuf made 30 saves against Victoria on Friday. He got the call again against Alberni on Saturday, but had to leave the game with an equipment issue after one minute and no shots. His replacement, affiliate player Michael Lenko, stopped 40 of 44 shots in the loss. Phaneuf returned to the crease on Sunday afternoon, and stopped 39 of 43 shots.
“[Lenko] faced a lot of rubber,” Beatty noted. “When he first came in, we were playing fairly solid, but we didn’t give him the support we should have as a veteran team.”
Matt Hudie scored twice for the Caps on Friday, and newly acquired defenceman Carter Cochrane had the other goal, while veteran blueliner Mitch Meek had a pair of assists.
Kade Kehoe had two goals on Saturday night, Jared Domin also scored, and Cochrane chipped in with two helpers.
Kehoe again scored twice on Sunday, as did Patrick Geary, while Meek, Ryan Burton, Luke Santerno and Ayden MacDonald each had a goal and an assist. Domin added three helpers, and Ryan Hogg had two assists.
With just two games slated, the Caps will have a lighter schedule this weekend, but with both matches coming against division rivals, the pressure will still be high. The Caps host the Island Division-leading Powell River Kings at 7 p.m. on Saturday, then visit the Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon.
“Powell River has been on a roll since we played them here last,” Beatty said, referring to a 5-1 Capitals win on Sept. 18. “They’ve been crushing teams we feel are real good hockey clubs.”
The Grizzlies sit last in the division and are “obviously hungry” for success, Beatty pointed out.
“It’s a big weekend for us,” he said.