No pucks got past the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the first game of the season.
Cowichan shut out the Nanaimo Clippers 2-0 as the BCHL season got underway Friday night at Frank Crane Arena.
The Capitals’ Josh Kagan scored midway through the second period and that one goal held up, as the Caps added an empty-netter to win the rivalry game.
Mike Vandekamp, Capitals coach, said the game lacked flow and said ice conditions had the puck bouncing, which he said affected both teams.
“We’re just trying to figure out our own team, still, and get through some of the nerves that come with that first game. Getting through it is what you kind of do, and that was a get-through-it type of game for us,” he said. “It wasn’t pretty, but we found a way to win.”
Kagan, on a one-timer, and Andy Bridgewater into an empty net scored the goals and goalie Zach Borgiel made 35 saves for the shutout.
For Nanaimo, goalie Zach Bennett made 26 saves.
Darren Naylor, Clippers coach, said his team played better after the first period, but couldn’t get the puck past the Capitals’ goalie – or the post or crossbar.
“It was one of those games, you can’t win if you don’t score,” Naylor said.
Naylor said in those sort of tight games, a team just has to keep pushing and he said the Clippers did that.
“There was a lot of good. We didn’t spend a lot of time in our end, we were in their end, we had way more possession time,” the coach said.
The close game on opening night could be a sign of things to come in the BCHL’s Island Division, as Vandekemp predicts it’s going to be “really tight” in 2019-20.
“There’s five good teams in our division, so it’s kind of wide open and every game within the division’s going to be a big game and we’re going to hopefully be as hard to play against as possible,” he said.
GAME ON … The Capitals play their home opener Saturday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m. at the Cowichan Community Centre against the Victoria Grizzlies.