Comeback caps off Cowichan home opener

Trailing 3-1 early in the third period of their B.C. Hockey League home opener against the Victoria Grizzlies last Friday, things weren’t looking good for the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

A four-goal explosion turned the tide, however, and the Caps held off the Grizzlies down the stretch to collect their first win of the campaign, 5-3 over their Island Division rivals.

"It was a big win," head coach Bob Beatty said. "Obviously, it’s good for the fans when you can come from behind and win it. Overall, it was a pretty good outing for us, especially the third period."

Forward Thomas Gobeil kickstarted the comeback at 3:45 of the third period. Jesse Neher tied the score at 3-3 at 4:49. Colton Kehler gave the Caps their first lead of the game at 14:52. Finally, Brayden Gelsinger locked it up by putting his first goal of the season into the empty net with 53 seconds remaining.

Sean Harrison scored the Caps’ first goal of the game on a latesecond-period powerplay, giving the team some momentum going into the third. Defencemen Julien Lepage and Rylan Bechtel each had two assists in the game. Goalie Lane Michasiw earned his first junior A win with 28 saves.

Another four-goal burst proved the Caps’ undoing on Sunday afternoon as they fell 8-4 to the Powell River Kings.

"We didn’t get the start that we wanted to," Beatty said. "Even though it was anybody’s game in the first half, our third period was extremely disappointing; we left our goalie out to dry."

Trailing 4-2 going into the third period, the Caps got within a goal when Daniel Wanner potted his first of the season. The Kings took over after that, scoring four times in just under 15 minutes before Gelsinger’s powerplay goal provided a bookend.

Captain Kyle Horsman scored for the Caps in the first period, and Gelsinger had a shorthanded goal in the second. Matt Zentner finished the game with 30 saves on 38 shots.

"We were very disappointed; it wasn’t the effort that we wanted to have on our home ice, or anywhere," Beatty said. "We could chalk it up to being a young team, but I didn’t think that our veterans were responsible either." The Caps will play their next five games on the road, including three in three nights this weekend as they head to Trail on Friday, Vernon on Saturday and West Kelowna on Sunday.

"With five straight away games, it was pretty important to take advantage of a home game, and we didn’t execute," Beatty said. "We didn’t get many points off the Island last year, and we’ll have to rectify that if we’re going to be in contention."