A newly assembled line powered the Cowichan Valley Capitals to back-to-back 3-2 wins over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in preseason games at home on Friday and Saturday.
The trio of Jacob Brockman, Kahlil Fontana and Tom Richter combined for five goals and 12 points over the two games, and were the only names on the Cowichan side of the scoresheet on Friday night.
“We just formed that line and were seeing if they had some chemistry,” Capitals interim head coach Brian Passmore said. “They immediately started working together. They were talking on the bench, and you could see them building confidence. They did a great job.”
Richter opened the scoring on Friday at 13:37 of the second period, on a set-up by Brockman. Brockman then added a powerplay goal at 7:05 of the third from Fontana and Richter. The Bulldogs got on the board next, but Richter buried his second of the night before Alberni notched one more.
Saturday’s game saw Brockman open the scoring with another powerplay goal, assisted by returning defencemen Cullen Ferguson and Clark Webster. The Bulldogs tied the score before Ferguson restored Cowichan’s lead, assisted by Sean Ramsay and Adam Grenier. Brockman’s second came before the end of the opening period, on a feed from Richter and Fontana. After a scoreless middle frame, the Bulldogs mustered one more in the third, but weren’t able to get any closer.
Brockman had two goals and seven assists in 54 games as a B.C. Hockey League rookie with the West Kelowna Warriors last season, but has been given a chance to play more of an offensive role with the Caps.
“He works extremely hard,” Passmore said. “He’s a dedicated player. He’s moving his feet and playing really well.”
The offence wasn’t the only thing working well for the Caps on the weekend as they kept the puck out of their own net as well. Jayden Shull stopped 35 of 37 shots on Friday, and Lucas Pfeil made 39 saves on 41 shots on Saturday.
“It was a complete team win,” Passmore said. “Everyone bought into the defensive system we had worked on. The goalies were great. We were able to get the lead in both games and play a tight checking defence.”
It helped that the team had time to train with the new coach. Passmore had been brought in just a day before the Caps played their first preseason games in Port Alberni a week earlier, and the Bulldogs won both those matches handily.
“We got in a whole week of practice,” Passmore commented. “The kids played hard, they competed hard, and they were rewarded.”
The Caps will play one game this weekend, as they play host to the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday at 7 p.m. Their Friday game against the Clippers in Nanaimo has been rescheduled to Oct. 21 due to ice issues.