Caps skate into top spot

"It's been a long time," third-year head coach Bob Beatty said. "It certainly hasn't happened since I've been here."

After building up a four-goal lead over the first two periods on Wednesday night, the Cowichan Valley Capitals weathered a third-period push by the Powell River Kings to win 6-3 and edge into first place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Island Division for the first time in several seasons.

“It’s been a long time,” third-year head coach Bob Beatty said. “It certainly hasn’t happened since I’ve been here.”

The Capitals led 4-0 after two periods and looked to be cruising to victory, but it all changed in a span of less than two minutes starting at 7:22 of the third when the Kings scored three quick goals.

“We got a few bounces and our goaltender [Storm Phaneuf] outplayed theirs in the first period,” Beatty said. “I thought we really placed a decent second period, then we got a little bit sloppy or cute or whatever you want to call it in the third. They had us on our heels. We’ve got to learn to close out games. If we want to maintain the position we’re in, we have to play better.”

The Caps regained their two-goal lead when a Powell River clearing attempt went into the net off Cowichan captain Adam Osczevski, and the Caps iced it with an empty-netter. The win pushed the Caps to 21 points on the season, one more than the Kings, who have played one more game than they have.

Osczevski finished the game with two goals and an assist, while Kade Kehoe scored once and added one helper. Ryan Burton, Rhett Willcox and Jared Domin also had singles, and Matt Hudie had a pair of assists. Phaneuf had a stellar outing in net, stopping 40 of 43 shots.

On Friday, the Caps visit the Victoria Grizzlies, who have put together the BCHL’s worst record so far this season, then host the Kings once again on Sunday at 2 p.m.

“We’ve played Victoria three times and had three one-goal games,” Beatty pointed out. “They lost a tough one [to Nanaimo Wednesday night], so they’re going to be hungry. Powell River is a good team. We’re not neck-and-neck with them by accident. To heat them four times in a row will be a challenge.”