Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Ethan Scardina tries a spin-o-rama to evade a Powell River Kings defender during the teams’ 2-2 tie at the Island Savings Centre on Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Caps draw even with Kings before road trip

Marcoux makes 63 saves, has faced more shots than any other BCHL goalie

Another outstanding performance by goalie Adam Marcoux and a late powerplay goal by Nicholas Wilson helped the Cowichan Valley Capitals salvage a 2-2 tie against the Powell River Kings on Sunday.

Marcoux made 61 stops, including 21 in the first period and 12 over two five-minute overtime periods as the Caps drew even with the Kings, who sit atop the B.C. Hockey League’s Island Division.

“He was the reason we got that point,” Capitals head coach Brian Passmore said. “We’re giving up two goals a game right now. It’s just about scoring some goals to help him out. He’s doing his job for sure.”

Passmore acknowledged his team looked “sluggish” in the early going against Powell River.

“We had Friday and Saturday off, and were just waiting around to play the Sunday game, while Powell River was on the road on Friday and Saturday, and we were their third game in three days,” They were playing with three AP’s and their backup goalie and injuries to some key players. We were thinking that might be in our favour, but it looked more like we were the team playing our third in three days.”

The Kings didn’t look like a team at the end of a tough road swing.

“They came out flying,” Passmore said. “They’re known for that. They shoot pucks from anywhere. They’re averaging more than 40 shots a game.”

It took just 32 seconds for Carter Turnbull to open the scoring for Powell River with his 15th goal of the season, the third-best total in the league at this point. It wasn’t until 9:05 of the second that Caleb Franklin scored his first career BCHL goal, tipping Simon Chen’s point shot into the Kings’ net to even things up.

Duncan product Ben Berard, who, like Turnbull, played his first junior A games as an affiliate with the Caps in 2014-15, connected on the powerplay to restore Powell River’s lead with just under two minutes left in the second. The Caps replied at 16:05 of the third with a powerplay marker of their own courtesy of Wilson.

Incidentally, Cowichan and Powell River are the last two teams in the BCHL without an overtime victory, the Caps with a tie and three losses to show for their games that have gone to extras, while the Kings have two draws and two defeats.

Discipline continued to be an issue for the Caps, although the penalty kill unit was up to the challenge, limiting the Kings to one powerplay goal on eight opportunities, including a two-minute boarding penalty to defenceman Boo Grist in the first overtime.

“If you go into the box eight times against a team like that, they’re gonna get one,” Passmore noted.

The Caps had four two-on-one opportunities over the two overtime periods, but failed to execute. Passmore has already worked on that aspect of the game in practice.

“Three of them ended with a pass across the ice that was intercepted,” he said of Sunday’s four chances. “Not even a shot on net.”

Notably, Cowichan lost leading goal-scorer and alternate captain Ty Pochipinski midway through the first period to a checking-from-behind penalty that came with an automatic game misconduct. Forward Cole Broadhurst was also assessed a misconduct after an incident in the third period.

Including the 63 pucks the Kings fired at him on Sunday, Marcoux has now faced a league-leading 673 shots, and his 605 saves are second in the league, although he sits fifth in terms of minutes played.

There’s still a lot of hockey left to play this season — 34 games, to be precise — but Sunday’s draw gives the Caps eight points (two wins, 16 losses, three overtime losses and one tie), tying them with the Coquitlam Express for the league’s last playoff spot, although the Express have a game in hand. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs sit second-last in the Island Division with 19 points (7-10-2-3).

The Caps head out on the road this coming weekend, visiting Salmon Arm (10-12-2-0) on Friday, Penticton (11-5- 1-2) on Saturday and Chilliwack (12-9-2-2) on Sunday.

If the Caps generate enough offence to complement Marcoux’s stellar netminding of late, Passmore believes they can have some success on the road.

“I tell the guys it’s a race to three [goals], he said. “If we can get to three goals, I like our chances.”

Cowichan’s next home game will be against Alberni on Nov. 22, with a 7 p.m. puck drop.

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Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Marshall Skapski keeps the puck away from a Powell River Kings player during last Sunday’s game at the Island Savings Centre. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

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