Luciano Wilson and Matt Crasa each had three points as the Cowichan Valley Capitals downed the Nanaimo Clippers 4-2 in a nasty battle at the Cowichan Arena on Saturday.
Things came to a head between the B.C. Hockey League rivals in the final minute, leading to misconducts for half a dozen players from each team, suspensions for two Cowichan players and four Nanaimo players, and fines to both clubs.
There was no scoring in the first, but Cowichan goalie Zach Borgiel held the fort as the Caps were outshot 13-5. The Caps then exploded for four goals in the second, all in a span of just over six minutes.
John Lundy notched his fourth of the season at 5:36 from Brady Lynn. Wilson scored his 17th at 8:13 from Dimitri Mikrogiannakis and Crasa. Primo Self scored a powerplay goal at 10:27 from Wilson and Crasa. Wilson then scored a powerplay marker of his own at 11:55 from Cruz Cote and Crasa.
The Clippers finally solved Borgiel with two in the third as they again outshot the Caps 19-8. The final shot count was 44-30 in Nanaimo’s favour, with Borgiel making 42 saves.
The longtime rivals are battling for first place in the BCHL’s Island Division, and tensions were high throughout the game, building into the third period. Cowichan’s Zach Brooks fought Nanaimo’s Robbie Drazner early in the third, leading to game misconducts for both. Clippers forward Brandon Dent was ejected for a blow to the head just after the 12-minute mark of the final frame.
Further fisticuffs in the final minute resulted in misconducts to Lundy, Mikrogiannakis, Olivier Gauthier, Tanner Sidaway, Tyrell Boucher and Cole Broadhurst, as well as six Nanaimo players. Lundy and Dan McIntyre — who wasn’t even in uniform for the Caps on Saturday as he sat out the second game of a four-game ban — were suspended for one and three games, respectively, as were four Nanaimo players, including Dent, and both teams were issued fines “for bringing disrepute to the league,” according to the BCHL website.
The Caps now have a nine-point lead over the Clippers in the race for first place in the Island Division. The Caps have eight games remaining, and the Clippers have 10. On an individual basis, Wilson moved back into the top 10 in BCHL scoring as he reached the 50-point mark with 17 goals and 33 assists in 48 games.
The Caps will head to Powell River this coming weekend for back-to-back games against the Kings on Friday and Saturday. The team’s next home game is set for Wednesday, Feb. 5, also against Powell River.