Cowichan Caps slip in playoff race

With just one out of a possible four points last weekend, the Cowichan Valley Capitals failed to gain any ground in the B.C. Hockey League Island Division playoff race.

The Caps were thumped 6-1 by the Nanaimo Clippers on the road last Friday. Despite a much better effort on Sunday, the Caps were beaten 6-5 in overtime by the Chilliwack Chiefs.

The Caps struggled from the start of Friday’s game.

"We weren’t very good, actually," head coach Bob Beatty said. "We came out flat and didn’t regroup."

Cowichan didn’t score until midway through the third period, by which time the Clippers had already amassed five goals. Recently acquired defenceman Connor Russell scored the Caps’ lone goal on the powerplay, set up by Brodie Smith and Sean Harrison.

The Caps were just 1-for-7 with the man advantage. Matt Zentner got the start in net and stopped 43 of 49 shots.

The team looked substantially better two days later, but fell just short of getting a badly needed victory.

"We came back and played a real strong game," Beatty said of the narrow defeat. "Unfortunately, we lost in overtime. We gave up six goals, and you don’t win many games when you give up six goals."

Beatty did acknowledge that the high-scoring affair was an exciting one.

"There was a great pace to the game," he said. "The effort was there for the most part."

The Caps came out much quicker than they had against Nanaimo as Kade Kehoe opened the scoring just 38 seconds in, with Kyle Horsman adding to the lead with a powerplay goal three minutes later.

Chilliwack managed to tie the score before the period was over, and went ahead in the second.

Horsman drew his team even with a shorthanded effort, and Luke Santerno restored the Cowichan lead a few minutes after that. The Chiefs again tied the score before intermission.

Skylar Pacheco scored in the third period as the teams again traded goals. Chilliwack was able to win the game in the first overtime. Kehoe and Santerno finished with a goal and an assist apiece, while Darien Craighead and Ryan Burton each had two helpers and goalie Lane Michasiw made 26 saves on 32 shots.

The Caps played host to the Powell River Kings on Tuesday night. They will head to Powell River this weekend for two more games against the Kings.

Following last weekend’s games, the Caps trail the Alberni Bulldogs by 11 points in the race for fourth place in the Island Division. The Caps have 11 games remaining in the season, while the Bulldogs still have 15 contests yet to play.

Also in the mix are the thirdplace Victoria Grizzlies, who have a 12-point lead on the Caps with 12 games left to play, and the Kings, who are 14 points up on the Caps, also with 12 games remaining.