The Cowichan Valley Capitals returned to their winning ways with a victory over the Surrey Eagles on Wednesday night.
After suffering their first loss of the B.C. Hockey League season in Powell River on Sunday, the Caps took advantage of home ice to beat the Eagles 5-2 at the Cowichan Arena.
“We got off to a good start,” head coach Mike Vandekamp said. “We kind of didn’t play the second half of the first period as well as the first half. The second period was a real dogfight, but in the third we took control.”
Cowichan jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first seven and a half minutes of the first period before Surrey answered back with a pair. The second period was scoreless, and the Caps added two more in the third.
The Caps had a couple of breakaways in the second period, and Zach Brooks was awarded a penalty shot, but Surrey goalie Thomas Scarfone turned them all aside as part of his 29-save night.
Josh Kagan had two powerplay goals and Luc Wilson had a goal and two assists to lead the way, and Cole Broadhurst finished with three assists. Andy Bridgewater scored once and added a helper, and captain Cruz Cote rounded out the offence. Zach Borgiel stopped 29 of 31 shots in the Cowichan net.
Dan McIntyre was out with an injury and Tanner Sidaway and Will Arquiett continued to serve suspensions, leaving the Caps thin in the forward ranks, with seven defencemen dressing on Wednesday, but Vandekamp liked the way the team rallied.
“We were short-staffed, missing key players,” the coach acknowledged. “I was pleased to see the guys step up and face the adversity, probably the first bit of adversity we’ve faced this year.”
New signing Kobe Verbicky made his debut with the Caps on Wednesday night. The Victoria-born forward joined the Caps from the Edmonton Oil Kings’ camp a year after being drafted 23rd overall in the second round of the Western Hockey League bantam draft. Verbicky spent 2018-19 with the North Island Silvertips of the B.C. Major Midget League, leading the team with 35 points on 12 goals and 23 assists in 35 games. Verbicky becomes the second 2003-born player to suit up for the Caps this season, joining fellow forward David Wang.
The Caps’ home stand continues on the weekend when they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday at 7 pm. and the Penticton Vees on Saturday at 6 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be the first game between the two teams since the Caps ousted the Vees from the BCHL playoffs last spring, but Vandekamp isn’t thinking about that yet.
“We have a big game to play first against Alberni,” he said. “We have to have a full team effort. They’re playing some good hockey. We’re not looking ahead of that game at all.”