The Cowichan Valley Capitals went into the B.C. Hockey League’s Christmas break on a winning note after beating the Prince George Spruce Kings 4-2 on Saturday evening.
“We got another win,” Cowichan head coach Bob Beatty said. “The guys deserve a break. Hopefully they can come back focused and drive a little harder. The guys get a little distracted in the week before Christmas. That never changes.”
The Caps went up 2-0 on nice goals at 5:44 and 7:25 of the first period. Affiliate player Nick Guerra, summoned from the junior B Saanich Braves where he leads the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League in scoring, sprang Jared Domin on a breakaway for the opening goal, and George Sennott raced in to score a beauty.
The lead faded away, however, as the Spruce Kings scored one late in the first and another midway through the second to draw even. A couple of fortunate bounces put the Caps back in front as Ty Pochipinski scored on a second-period powerplay after the puck caromed off the back wall, and Justin Perron recorded his second of the season after the puck went off a stanchion with the Prince George goalie out of position.
Adam Marcoux made 29 saves in the Cowichan net to improve to 7-7 on the season, while Tavin Grant stopped 18 pucks for Prince George.
Domin’s opening goal let loose a torrent of stuffed toys as fans took part in the Caps’ annual Teddy Bear Toss, throwing animals on the ice to be distributed throughout the community. Other than halting proceedings as the toys are cleaned up, the Teddy Bear Toss doesn’t have any impact on the game plan, Beatty noted.
“You’re trying to score early every game,” he said. “It might get to be a bit of a distraction if you get down to the last five minutes and you haven’t scored yet. I don’t even know if the players are aware of it until the toys start coming down.”
With 19 wins, 14 losses, two overtime losses and two ties, the Caps have the sixth-best record in the BCHL as they head into the holiday break. They are just one point back of the Powell River Kings for second place in the Island Division, with one game in hand.
“We’ve fought through a little adversity in the first few months of the season,” Beatty said. “I think if anyone had suggested that we’d be five games over .500 at Christmas break, we wouldn’t have been too upset about that. We still have ways to improve. We’ll look at strengthening our lineup before the 10th of January [trade deadline] and see what we can accomplish.”
The Caps will resume the schedule on Dec. 30 when they host the Victoria Grizzlies, beginning a three-game stretch of divisional games as they prepare to visit Port Alberni and Nanaimo on Jan. 4 and 6.
“They’re gonna be important games, for sure,” Beatty said.