The Cowichan Valley Capitals are in tough after dropping the first two games of their best-of-seven playoff series on the road against the Powell River Kings, but head coach Bob Beatty isn’t close to throwing in the towel.
“We’re still confident we can win this series,” he said after his team fell behind two games to none. “We need one win at a time. We’ll get back in it Tuesday, and that will go far.”
The Caps lost game one of the B.C. Hockey League Island Division semifinal 4-2 last Friday and game two on Saturday 4-3.
In the opening game, Jonny Evans scored for Powell River in the first and early in the second, with Max Newton replying for the Caps in the second period. Evans completed his hat trick in the third and Carter Turnbull made it 4-1 for the Kings before Michael Montambault answered back again for the Caps. Lane Michasiw made 34 saves in the Cowichan net, while Powell River netminder Brian Wilson needed to stop only 13 pucks.
The game didn’t have the usual postseason feel, Beatty observed.
“It didn’t really have the playoff intensity that you would expect to be there,” he said. “I think three early penalties kind of took a little bit of the edge off; the guys are thinking they’re going to have to stay out of the box.”
In game two, the Kings took a 3-0 lead on two goals in the first period and another five and a half minutes into the second. The Caps started to eat into the lead when Ben Verall scored on the powerplay midway through the second, and Ayden MacDonald potted another with the man advantage five minutes after that. Powell River scored again early in the third.
George Sennott replied with six minutes left in the game, but the Caps were unable to close the gap. Michasiw finished with 27 saves and Wilson made 29 as the Caps more than doubled their shot total from Friday night.
“We really battled,” Beatty said. “We had opportunities to tie it up and to score, even prior to them making it 4-3, that we didn’t capitalize on. Certainly the effort was there. We did turn the puck over a few too many times in the first half of the game, to be sure.”
Saturday’s contest felt more like it should have, in Beatty’s view.
“There was a little bit more playoff atmosphere, a little more feistiness to both teams,” he said. “It will ramp up for Tuesday, I’m pretty positive of that.”
The series moved to the Island Savings Centre for games on Tuesday (after press time), Wednesday and if necessary, Thursday. The Caps need to win at least two of those games to stay alive.
“Obviously, we’re a pretty desperate team,” Beatty said. “We need a win Tuesday night to get some momentum on our side. They’re a good, solid team, and so are we. We’ve got to make a few less mistakes to make things go our way.”
There is still a lot of hockey left to play, the coach insisted.
“The guys certainly aren’t packing their stuff,” he said. “We’re confident we can extend the series and make another trip to Powell River. I don’t think people are giving us much respect. We have to go out and earn it.”
Playing in front of a home crowd should help the cause.
“We’re a little bit more comfortable playing at home,” Beatty said. “We have to win in their building to win the series, but we have to take advantage of home ice. It would be great to have a big crowd. The adrenaline runs that much more when you’ve got the fans behind you.”