The Cowichan Valley Capitals bounced back from a couple of tough losses to get their first win of the season, beating the Coquitlam Express 5-3 on Sunday afternoon.
The victory came less than 24 hours after a 9-7 loss to the Powell River Kings on Saturday, and a week after they opened the season with an 8-3 loss to the Nanaimo Clippers.
“We just did whatever it took to get that win,” said Capitals head coach Brian Passmore, who collected his first victory as a B.C. Hockey League coach.
Unlike in the first two games of the year, the Caps had nearly everything clicking on Sunday.
“I think our powerplay was good,” Passmore said. “Our forwards worked hard on the forecheck, and our defence did a good job of moving the puck.”
The Caps fell behind 2-0 before Andrew Jackson notched his first BCHL goal on the powerplay with 1:39 left in the first to narrow the gap to 2-1. After a scoreless second period, Jackson potted another 24 seconds into the third to even the score, and Ty Pochipinski scored just over two minutes later to give Cowichan the lead. Coquitlam pulled even soon after that, but Ethan Scardina restored the Caps’ advantage, and Azzaro Tinling added some insurance.
Jackson finished with two goals and two helpers, Pochipinski had a pair of assists to go with his goal, and veteran defenceman Nii Noi Tetteh recorded his first three assists of the season. Goalie Adam Marcoux earned the win with 37 saves on 40 shots.
The Caps were also down 2-0 late in the first period against Powell River on Saturday when Nick Wilson scored his first of the season. The Kings added one more right at the buzzer to restore the two-goal edge. Ethan Scardina got the Caps back within one at 3:56 of the second, but Duncan’s own Ben Berard scored 28 seconds after that to kick off a three-goal surge by the Kings. Wilson put an end to that run with his second of the match, and the Caps trailed 6-3 at the second intermission.
Pochipinski and Hugh Larkin scored in the first 98 seconds of a thrilling third period, in which the teams combined for seven goals, including two empty-netters for Powell River.
Alec Zawatsky finished with a goal and two helpers, Wilson added one assist to his two goals, Cole Broadhurst had one of each, and David Laroche and Marshall Skapski had two assists apiece. Marcoux went the distance in net, and stopped a respectable 42 of the 49 shots he faced.
Marcoux’s numbers weren’t stellar in the first two games, but Passmore never felt the losses were his goalie’s fault, blaming the struggles on team defence, which he added has improved in each game.
“I think our goalie has been great,” he said. “He’s made some great saves to keep games within reach.”
Jackson and Pochipinski, playing on an all-American line with Hugh Larkin, have each posted five points through the first three games, and Passmore is happy to see them producing early.
“They’ve clicked,” he said. “They’re getting powerplay time, and they’re taking advantage of that. They’re a line that’s hard to play against. They work extremely hard, and they’re putting up some points. What I want is a group of four lines all contributing at times, and they’re hot right now. I’ve said before it’s not going to be one individual running away with it.”
The Caps are off to Chilliwack this week for the Bauer BCHL Showcase, where they will play Salmon Arm on Wednesday, and West Kelowna on Thursday.
“It will be good to get on the road and get a bit more bonding away from home. It’s definitely a better feeling to prepare for that coming off a win.”