The Cowichan Valley Capitals earned their third win of the B.C. Hockey League season on Saturday, and in convincing fashion, as they downed the Mainland Division-leading Langley Rivermen 5-1.
“We played a full 60 minutes,” Caps head coach Brian Passmore said. “It was good to play a full game and stick with it. We did all the little things we had been talking about over and over. We executed.”
The teams traded goals in the first period, the Caps getting theirs from captain Troy MacTavish on the powerplay. It was all Cowichan in the second as the Caps scored four unanswered, including three more with the man advantage. David Laroche, Azzaro Tinling and Andrew McCann all found the net before MacTavish potted his second of the night. Neither team managed to score in the third.
Tinling finished with three points, and recent addition Tate Coughlin also recorded two assists.
Special teams were huge for the Caps as they went 4-for-6, while holding the Rivermen to 0-for-6.
“Our powerplay was hot, our penalty kill was much better. We had a good game five-on-five. We kept them to under 30 shots.”
Cowichan goalie J.J. Pichette made 28 saves against the Rivermen.
“They’re a strong team,” Passmore said. “They were missing a couple of key players, but they’re a good puck-moving team with lots of veterans.”
The Caps made some changes to their powerplay lines, and getting centre Ethan Scardina back provided a boost on all fronts. The 17-year-old did a little of everything, including helping set up Tinling’s powerplay goal.
“Having Scardina back gives us a big boost down the middle, and on the powerplay and PK,” Passmore said. “He plays a big role for a rookie.”
The Caps weren’t as good last Wednesday in a fight-ridden 6-1 loss to the Clippers in Nanaimo.
Cowichan’s Nicholas Wilson opened the scoring in the first period, but Nanaimo replied with three in the second and three more in the third.
The teams combined for 62 minutes in penalties as Wilson, Hugh Larkin and Simon Chen all squared off for third-period fights with Nanaimo opponents. The Clippers went 4-for-7 on the powerplay, while the Caps were 0-for-3.
“I wasn’t pleased with our effort or discipline,” Passmore said.
Pichette actually had a respectable outing, his best in a Caps uniform prior to Saturday’s win, stopping 37 of 43 shots.
Pichette held the fort for the Caps last week as the goaltending situation went through a bit of an upheaval. He was signed to back up Adam Marcoux after Yann Dery was traded in mid November. Last week, Marcoux left the team and asked for a trade. Defenceman Riley Thorpe had also requested a trade, so the Caps sent him to the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Calgary Canucks for a new backstop, Caiden Kreitz.
Kreitz played 15 games for the Canucks, going 5-7 with a 3.49 goals-against average and .888 save percentage. At 19, he is the same age as Marcoux, and actually played on the same bantam and midget teams as Marcoux in Calgary. Kreitz joined the Caps for practice on Monday. Passmore wasn’t sure on Monday which goalie would be starting when his team hosts the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday evening.
It’s important for the team to play like they did on Saturday, Passmore noted.
“We’ve got to keep the momentum, keep the foot on the gas and not take a step back,” he said. “We’ve been playing well at home. We have points in our last three home games. We’ve been working extremely hard, giving ourselves a chance to win.
“We’re looking at the last seven games [before Christmas] as a best of seven. We’re 1-1. We have three more left at home and two on the road to get to four out of seven.”
The Caps host Victoria on Wednesday at 7 p.m., and the Powell River Kings on Saturday at 7 p.m.