Capitals players celebrate Luciano Wilson’s first-round series-clinching goal against the Powell River Kings last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Capitals players celebrate Luciano Wilson’s first-round series-clinching goal against the Powell River Kings last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

UPDATE: Cowichan Capitals series 2 cancelled due to COVID-19

Caps and Clippers will square off for Island Division title

UPDATE: The decision was made yesterday to cancel all BC Hockey championships and playoffs, including the Cowichan Valley Capitals next series.

Head coach Mike Vandekamp won’t be behind the bench on Friday when the Cowichan Valley Capitals begin their second-round B.C. Hockey League playoff series against the Clippers in Nanaimo, but the team will be ready for the game regardless.

Earlier this week, Vandekamp wasn’t sure if assistant Dan Whiteford would be getting some help running the games while the head coach serves a two-game suspension he incurred in the last game of the Caps’ first-round series against Powell River.

“We’ll have it figured out by the time we get there,” Vandekamp said. “Right now, we’re trying to get the team prepared.”

Forward Cole Broadhurst was suspended for 12 games after he was kicked out of the Caps’ game last Friday before it even started for shooting a puck at Powell River goalie Derek Krall during the pre-game skate, and Vandekamp was issued the two-game ban in addition to a fine.

The week off between the two series gave the Caps a chance to discuss lessons learned from the last series — both things they did well and areas they can improve. He’s not expecting an easy go against the Clippers.

“I think the challenge will be more difficult [than the Powell River series].” he said. “Each series, you go up against a team that’s been through more than the last. We’ll continue to focus on learning and getting better.”

The Clippers were led through the regular season and their first-round sweep of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs by 20-year-old forward Joshua Bourne. Bourne put up 58 points (29G, 29A) in 57 regular-season games, and added eight points (3G, 5A) in four games against Alberni in the opening round. He’s also a big body on the ice at six-foot-four and 210 pounds.

Goaltending has also been a big part of the Clippers’ success. Jordan Naylor, the son of Nanaimo head coach Darren Naylor, allowed just nine goals in four first-round games for a 2.25 goals-against average and .934 save percentage. Cowichan’s Zach Borgiel posted similar numbers with a 2.62 GAA and .925 SPCT in the first round.

The Caps won five of eight games against Nanaimo during the regular season, outscoring the Clippers 19-11. Nanaimo won the last two meetings, both at Frank Crane Arena, 1-0 on Feb. 14 and 2-1 on Feb. 21.

Throw all those numbers out, though, Vandekamp insists.

“From the standpoint of results, absolutely nothing that happened in the regular season has anything to do with what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s two teams going out there trying their best and playing their games.”

North Cowichan mayor Al Siebring, who has been a regular at Caps games since long before he got into politics, has arranged a bet with Nanaimo mayor Leonard Krog, wherein the mayor of the losing city will have to wear the jersey of the winning team to the next council meeting after the series ends.

The schedule for the Island final series between Cowichan and Nanaimo is as follows: at Frank Crane Arena this Friday and Saturday, at the Big Stick next Tuesday and Wednesday, then, if necessary, at Frank Crane on March 20, at the Big Stick on March 22, and at Frank Crane on March 24.

BCHL

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