The Cowichan Valley Capitals collected a single point in the standings on Wednesday night in a 3-2 double-overtime loss to the Nanaimo Clippers after giving up a 2-1 lead late in the third period
With Cowichan defenceman Marshall Skapski serving a penalty for kneeing, the Clippers connected for their first powerplay goal in six opportunities to sink the Caps.
The Clippers scored on their first shot, 18 seconds into the first period, but the Caps regrouped during a mid-period timeout and replied with goals from Cole Broadhurst and Jonathan Stein on a nice feed by Ethan Scardina to pull ahead.
“We came out in the first 10 minutes flat,” Caps head coach Brian Passmore admitted. “We were sloppy in our passing. It looked like we weren’t ready to play.”
After playing solid defence in the second, the Caps carried their 2-1 lead into the third, and outshot the Clippers 13-12 in the final frame. With just over four minutes to go, however, a missed assignment on defence allowed Nanaimo’s top scorer, Tristan Crozier, to break in alone. He was slashed on the breakaway and awarded a penalty shot, which he capitalized on. That sent the game to overtime.
“We had a few looks in overtime,” Passmore said. “We had opportunities to score.”
The first 4-on-4 overtime was fruitless, so the teams went to five minutes of 3-on-3, the first such experience for the Caps this year. Skapski’s infraction gave the Clips a 4-on-3 advantage, and they made use of it.
Adam Marcoux had an outstanding game in net, making 47 saves and earning second-star honours.
Passmore has no concerns about his team’s work rate. The issues at this point are in making mental errors.
“Our effort was good,” Passmore said. “It’s just a matter of awareness and defensive play. A lot of our players are rookies who have maybe always been the offensive guys on their team, so they’re having to learn to play defence. All it takes is a guy or two making one mistake, and the other teams seem to capitalize all the time. We are getting better, as painful as our record is.”
Wednesday’s game was the Caps’ fourth in an eight day span.
It began with a 6-3 defeat on the road against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs last Wednesday. Ty Pochipinski scored twice, Stein added one on the powerplay and captain Troy MacTavish had two assists, while Marcoux made 44 saves. Alberni went 3-for-8 on the powerplay, while the Caps were 1-for-3.
That was followed by a 7-4 loss to the league-leading Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday. MacTavish scored twice and added an assist, while Pochipinski had a goal and a helper and Ethan Scardina also scored. Raphael Gosselin was denied on a penalty shot opportunity late in the second period. Yann Dery got the start in goal and lasted just over 15 minutes as he allowed three goals on five shots. Marcoux played the balance and made 26 saves.
The Caps were edged 2-1 by the Clippers on Sunday afternoon, getting their lone goal from Pochipinski on assists by MacTavish and Stein, while Marcoux stopped 27 of 29 shots.
The Caps have just one game this weekend as they play host to the Powell River Kings on Sunday at 2 p.m.