Niko Esposito-Selivanov and the Cowichan Valley Capitals pulled off the upset in their first game of the 2019 B.C. Hockey League playoffs, beating the Penticton Vees 4-1 in Penticton on Thursday night.
Niko Esposito-Selivanov scored twice and added two assists, and Cowichan goalie Pierce Diamond outdueled BCHL first-team all-star Jack LaFontaine 40 saves to 24 as the wildcard Caps took a 1-0 lead over the Interior Division’s top team in the best-of-seven series.
Esposito-Selivanov set up Paul Selleck for the only goal of the first period. After the Vees evened things up early in the second, Esposit0-Selivanov scored one of his own, then earned the first assist on a goal by Dimitri Mikrogiannakis. Finally, he fired the puck into an empty net with 64 seconds left in the game.
Cowichan killed off all five of Penticton’s powerplay opportunities, while the Vees managed to avoid the penalty box altogether until the very end of the game when Caps forward Cole Broadhurst and Penticton’s Carson Kosobud took matching roughing minors.
The teams will be back in action at the South Okanagan Events Centre on Saturday at 6 p.m. The series moves to the Island Savings Centre next Tuesday and Wednesday, both games starting at 7 p.m.