Caps beat champs to end losing skid

Back-to-back second-period powerplay goals helped the Cowichan Valley Capitals end their sixgame losing streak with a 2-1 over the defending B.C. Hockey League champion Coquitlam Express at the Island Savings Centre on Saturday night.

Coming in their return home after five consecutive road dates, the victory was the Caps’ second win of the season, and couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We were grateful to get a win,” head coach Bob Beatty said. “When you’re on a skid like that, and you’ve lost four one-goal games in a row, you’ve got to turn a corner some time.”

Coquitlam opened the scoring with 74 seconds left in the first period, but Cowichan evened the score with a powerplay marker from Brayden Gelsinger at 10:16, then went ahead for good three minutes and 11 seconds later when Luke Novak potted his first BCHL goal.

Cowichan goalie Matt Zentner made 32 saves on 33 shots for his first BCHL win, while the Caps fired 28 shots at Coquitlam’s Pierce Dushenko, who made 26 saves.

“It’s great to win, and we’re excited about that, but we have to stay on course,” Beatty said. “You don’t cheat the process. We’ve been playing better, and we need to get better every night.”

On Friday night, the Caps had lost their sixth in a row, falling 4-3 to the Clippers in Nanaimo. After the Clippers scored the only goal of the first period, the Caps went ahead in the second on goals by Kyle Horsman and Gelsinger. Nanaimo evened the score before the end of the second.

The Caps went ahead again nine minutes into the third when Alaskan rookie sensation Sean Harrison scored his fifth goal of the season, but the Clippers scored two more, including the winner with just 55 seconds left to play.

Lane Michasiw was blasted with 48 shots and made an impressive 44 saves but was saddled with the loss.

The Caps replied with 32 shots on Jakob Severson in the Nanaimo net.

“We were shorthanded going into it,” Beatty noted. “I thought the guys played solid. It really hurts, losing in the last minute like we did.

The Caps played host to the Powell River Kings on Tuesday night.

They play a home-and-home with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs this coming weekend, meeting in Port Alberni on Friday, then returning home at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It will be the Caps’ first regular-season meeting with the Bulldogs, who they defeated 5-4 in a preseason game.