The Cowichan Valley Capitals won an overtime thriller 6-5 at the Island Savings Centre Tuesday night against the Victoria Grizzlies.
"I think the fans got their money’s worth, that’s for sure," said head coach Bob Beatty. "I thought they played pretty well. We did let a 3-1 lead slip, but we didn’t throw in the towel and hang our heads and we were able to come back and fortunately we were able to pull it out."
The Caps led off the scoring in the first period at the eight-minute mark when Kade Kehoe put one in the net on a power play with assists from Rylan Bechtel and Ryan Burton.
Four minutes later they made it 2-0 off a goal by Skylar Pacheco with assists from Carter Turnbull and Ryan Hogg.
The Grizzlies came back to within one on a power play 14 minutes into the first.
The Capitals widened the lead again early in the second frame with a goal from Sean Harrison, with assists from Luke Santerno and Darien Craighead.
But the Grizzlies weren’t done.
The visitors came back with three goals of their own, only to have their lead snatched in the dying minutes of the second period by Cowichan’s Pacheco with his second goal of the game, assisted by Kehoe and Adam Osczevski.
Going into the third period tied at four apiece, the Grizzlies once again took the lead ten minutes in, holding it until just before the buzzer, when Capital Craighead tied it up at 19:25 with assists from Pacheco and Bechtel.
"The adrenaline’s flowing," said Beatty of what it’s like to be behind the bench as the seconds tick down and your team is still looking for a goal. What he does in those critical moments is put the guys out there he thinks can best do the job.
And they did. Julien Lepage scored the game winner for Cowichan just two minutes into overtime, with assists from Kehoe and Craighead.
"They came through for us last night," said Beatty.
The coach had praise for a number of players after Tuesday’s win.
Affiliate players Ryan Hogg, Carter Turnbull and Brandon Tutte all played really well, Beatty said.
"We didn’t plan to play them all together from the outset but Ryan Hogg had an excellent game. I thought he played his best game of the year," he said.
Lepage also got a nod for his overtime winner, and Kehoe put in a good effort with a goal and two assists, the coach said, while Pacheco turned in two goals and an assist.
The team had to juggle some offensive lines, Beatty said, with Kyle Horsman and Brody Smith both out and last week’s trade of Thomas Gobeil.
Beatty was also pleased with the play of the defence, singling out Jake Switzer as having "one of his best games of the season."
Newcomer Michal Holub "showed that he belongs," the coach said.
The Capitals play again Friday night starting at 7 p.m. at the Island Savings Centre, against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.