The Cowichan Valley Capitals lost both their games at the Bauer B.C. Hockey League Showcase in Chillwack last week, but head coach Brian Passmore still feels his team is going in the right direction.
The Caps were edged 3-2 by the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Wednesday afternoon, then lost 2-1 to the West Kelowna Warriors on Thursday afternoon.
Allowing five goals in two games was a huge improvement by a team that surrendered 20 in its first three contests.
“The scores were respectful of our defensive play,” Passmore said. “There was more quick responding in our own zone, not letting them have so much time and space. It’s about putting it all together now. Our powerplay could be better, even five-on-five, we need to generate more shots.”
Rhett Kingston — along with Ryan Hogg and Mitch Stapley one of three former Caps now playing for Salmon Arm — scored one goal and set up another as the Silverbacks beat Cowichan.
Ladysmith’s Cole Broadhurst scored his first BCHL goal, and Alec Zawatsky also found the net for the Caps with goalie Yann Dery pulled for the extra skater. Dery made 35 saves in the loss.
“We didn’t play our best game,” Cowichan coach Brian Passmore said. “We were kind of flat-footed. We came out and had a good first period, which changed things up, then in the second period we came out flat. We were playing from behind in the third period, and each team exchanged a goal. It was a good effort in the third period. It was just in the second that we failed to play a full 60 minutes.”
Hugh Larkin had the Caps’ only goal against West Kelowna, while Goalie Adam Marcoux stopped all but two of the more than 40 shots he faced.
“The kids played hard,” Passmore said. “The first shot of the game, from outside the blueline, I think Marcoux would like back, but after that, he kept us in it. It basically came down to special teams. The second goal, Kelowna scored on the powerplay. We took too many penalties and failed to score on our own powerplays. We lost the special teams battle.”
The Showcase attracted a record number of scouts, and their presence may have had an effect on the Cowichan players.
“I don’t know if the guys were doing a little too much with the scouts there, looking for the pretty play,” Passmore said. “But we weren’t executing on the simple plays.”
All Showcase games are played in Chilliwack, but Wednesday’s game counts in the standings as a home game for the Caps, while Thursday’s was a road game.
The Caps now sit fifth in the Island Division with one win and four losses.
The Caps will be away from the Island Savings Centre again this coming weekend as they head to the Mainland for games against the Wenatchee Wild on Friday, the Merritt Centennials on Saturday, and the Coquitlam Express on Sunday. The Wild (3-1-0-1) are off to a slower start than expected, but are always dangerous. The Centennials (0-6-0-0) will be hungry for their first win of the season. And the Express (0-4-0-1) will be looking for payback after losing at the Island Savings Centre earlier this month.
“It will be a test this weekend, for sure,” Passmore said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge. The players will continue to bond on the road. It will be nice to come away with some victories on the road here.”