Cowichan Caps hope surge is enough for playoffbid

The Cowichan Valley Capitals appear to have turned a corner since Christmas, but head coach Bob Beatty knows his team still has its work cut out for it as far as making the B.C. Hockey League playoffs goes.

"We’ve won four of five since the break, and we’re happy with that," he said. "Unfortunately, that’s probably the rate we’re going to have to play to get into the playoffs."

Since roaring back from Christmas with a 6-2 win over the Powell River Kings, the Caps have added four move victories to their total, but remain fifth in the Island Division.

The recent success has come despite a team-wide bout with the flu and several nagging injuries, including one that forced veteran Thomas Gobeil to miss two games last weekend. Among the players to step up lately are the young trio of Kade Kehoe, Ryan Burton and Adam Osczevski, who have combined for 19 points in the last four games.

"They’ve found some chemistry," Beatty said. "They’ve played extremely well and faced some good competition too. It’s definitely a good sign."

Fellow youngster Sean Harrison has continued his consistently strong play, while defencemen Ben Verrall, Mitch Stapley and Jake Switzer have come into their own as well.

On Tuesday, Dec. 30, Harrison scored the game-winner as the Caps edged the Victoria Grizzlies 4-3 in overtime after Darien Craighead forced the extra session with his late goal. Kehoe scored twice in regulation, while Burton and Skylar Pacheco each had two assists in the contest. Matt Zentner earned the win in net, making 33 saves on 36 shots.

Back in Victoria last Friday, the Caps were doubled up 6-3, with Harrison, Luke Santerno and Julien Lepage providing the goals, while Pacheco counted another two helpers. Zentner faced 34 shots and turned aside 28.

At home on Saturday, the Caps came back from a 3-2 third-period deficit to dump the league-worst Surrey Eagles 6-4. Burton led the way with a goal and three assists, while Kehoe scored once and added two helpers. Craighead and Osczevski each had a goal and an assist, while Harrison and Daniel Wanner rounded out the scoring. Zentner picked up another victory by making 20 saves on 24 shots.

Finally, the Caps got by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 5-4 in Port Alberni last Sunday. Osczevski scored the lone goal of the third period, which stood up as the game winner. He, Kehoe, Craighead and Pacheco each recorded a goal and an assist, with Brodie Smith adding the other goal. Rylan Bechtel had three helpers, and Burton added two. Zentner was back between the pipes again and stopped 38 of 42 shots for the win.

With 15 wins, 24 losses, one tie and one overtime defeat, the Caps have 32 points, eight fewer than the Bulldogs, who still occupy the final Island Division playoff berth. The Bulldogs also have six games in hand on the Caps.

Beatty hasn’t given up hope on narrowing that gap, which shows in his approach to the league’s trade deadline this Saturday. Beatty doesn’t plan on trading any of his 20-year-olds.

"The vultures are circling, obviously, with our start. We’ve played fairly well the last few weeks, but we haven’t made up the ground we would have liked. But we’re not throwing in the towel."

The Caps host the Nanaimo Clippers this Friday and the Grizzlies next Tuesday, both games starting at 7 p.m.

Just Posted

Sarah Simpson
Sarah Simpson column: A shift in perspective can sometimes change everything

Have you even been forced to wake up at 5:30 on a Saturday

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read