Cowichan Caps swept out of Interior on three-game road excursion

The Cowichan Valley Capitals improved their play steadily during last weekend’s three-game road trip to the B.C. Hockey League’s Interior Division, but not enough to come home with any points.

"We didn’t get rewarded for anything," head coach Bob Beatty said. "Three losses is three losses."

The Caps found themselves trailing 1-0 15 seconds in and 3-0 after the first period of Friday’s game against the Smoke Eaters in Trail, and never quite regained their footing, losing that game 6-2, then falling 2-1 to the Vernon Vipers on Saturday and 5-3 to the West Kelowna Warriors on Sunday.

"We didn’t start off well," Beatty said. "We played better, I thought, on Saturday, and probably our best game was on Sunday, but there are no rewards for coming close."

The Caps trailed the Smokies 5-0 before Ryan Burton finally got them on the board at 11:20 of the second. Trail scored a shorthanded goal less than a minute into the third period to restore the five-goal lead, and the Caps added another one when Sean Harrison scored with 40 seconds left in the game.

Lane Michasiw started the game but lasted just four minutes and eight seconds before being pulled after allowing three goals on six shots. Matt Zentner played the remainder of the game and stopped 40 of 43 shots.

On Saturday, the Vipers scored in the first and second periods, and the Caps didn’t get a puck past Vernon’s goalie until 18:47 of the third period, when Jesse Neher potted his second of the season. Zentner was back between the pipes and stopped 36 of 38 shots.

On Sunday, the Caps gave up the first goal, but evened things up when defenceman Skylar Pacheco scored on the powerplay precisely at the 11-minute mark. The Warriors scored three straight, including a powerplay goal and two shorthanded markers, before the Caps responded again with a goal from Thomas Gobeil, and then Pacheco’s second of the game. They pushed to tie the score, but gave up an empty-netter. Michasiw made 22 saves on 26 shots.

Beatty was pleased with his goaltenders over the course of the weekend.

"We let Lane hang out to dry early in the game on Friday against Trail, but generally it was strong," he said. "I was happy with our netminding."

The Caps are now 1-6 on the season. They still have two more road games – against the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday and Nanaimo Clippers on Friday – before finally returning home to host the Coquitlam Express at 7 p.m. on Saturday.