Caps drop preseason opener

The Cowichan Valley Capitals’ 2014/15 roster came into clearer focus on Wednesday night after a 3-2 loss to the Victoria Grizzlies in the team’s B.C. Hockey League preseason opener.

Four players were released from camp after the game, leaving the team with 23 skaters and two goalies. They have to get down to 20 skaters and two goalies before the season opener on Sept. 19.

“It wasn’t just about the effort in that game,” head coach Bob Beatty said. “But there was at least one player that we changed our minds on because of that performance. Some things were made clearer as far as handling the speed of the game.”

Defencemen Tyler Holz and Jayden Syrota were sent back to their junior B teams, where Beatty feels they will benefit from another year of development. Also released were forwards Stephen Egan and Cole Iantorno.

Kyle Baron opened the scoring in Wednesday’s game with a powerplay goal seven minutes into the first period. The Grizzlies tied the score and then took a 2-1 lead in the second period, but Brodie Smith buried the rebound off Daniel Wanner’s shot to even things up with a minute and a half remaining in the period.

Just 53 seconds into the third, the Grizzlies regained the lead and managed to hold on through the final buzzer.

Goalie Lane Michasiw played the entire game in net for the Caps, stopping 37 of 40 shots.

Beatty plans to have an older group in action for the next preseason game, in Port Alberni on Saturday, with forwards Jesse Neher, Brayden Gelsinger and Thomas Gobeil and defencemen Rylan Bechtel and Julien Lepage expected to dress.

“We’ll have five more veteran players for sure,” the coach said. “I haven’t determined when the other veterans will play.”

The Caps’ next home game is set for next Tuesday, when the exhibition schedule will continue against the Nanaimo Clippers at 7 p.m. That will be the last chance for fans to see the team in preseason action. The regular season gets underway on Sept. 19 and 20 at the Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.