Luc Wilson celebrates after scoring in overtime to send the Cowichan Valley Capitals to the second round of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs. The Caps eliminated the Powell River Kings four games to one with a 2-1 win at the Cowichan Arena on Friday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Hometown hero sends Caps to second round

Luciano Wilson buries OT winner as Cowichan eliminates Powell River

Duncan’s own Luciano Wilson scored in overtime as the Cowichan Valley Capitals defeated the Powell River Kings 2-1 to win their first-round B.C. Hockey League playoff series four games to one.

Wilson potted his first goal of the 2020 postseason on the powerplay at 6:34 of the extra frame to send his team to the second round for the second consecutive season.

“To be honest, I’m speechless,” Wilson said after the game. “Doing it in front of my home crowd is pretty special, especially with this group of guys; they’re unbelievable. It was an amazing feeling. Even being on the ice for [Matt Crasa’s] tying goal, that was special too. I got to watch him celebrate right in front of me. Those memories, you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”

Wilson assisted on Crasa’s game-tying goal with 37 seconds left in regulation, which came just moments after defenceman Dimitri Mikrogiannakis knocked a surefire empty-net goal out of the air with his stick.

“I just kind of shot it and everyone went crazy, heart’s pounding fast, just kind of trying to regroup and get ready for overtime, but it’s obviously a great feeling,” Crasa said.

The Kings started the game strong, scoring their lone goal in the first period as they outshot the Caps 17-3. The second period was more even as both goaltenders — Zach Borgiel for Cowichan and Derek Krall for Powell River — stopped all 13 shots they faced. The Caps dominated play in the third, outshooting the Kings 12-2, and in overtime as they had six shots to Powell River’s one.

Not going back to Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena was a big motivator for the Caps on Friday, the players admitted.

“I think it was a very big key,” Wilson said. “It’s not an easy building, going over to Powell River and doing it in Powell River, so obviously in front of our home crowd, they were energizing us tonight quite a bit, and we fed off them. I think it’s huge finishing it off tonight. We get to rest until Friday and that’s what we’re gonna do.”

“We knew this was going to be the hardest game to win, so just keep our heads down and keep working,” Crasa added. “A lot of things didn’t go our way early on, but we stuck with it, and luckily got that goal late, and then plugged away in overtime.”

The Caps will face the Nanaimo Clippers for the Island Division title after the Clippers swept the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in four games. Cowichan played much of the first series short on forwards, so the players will enjoy a few days off to recover before the next round begins.

“Any time you play a playoff series, it definitely takes a toll,” Crasa acknowledged. “We do a good job recovering after every game. It’s been a good one and we’ll try to keep rolling.”

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Cowichan Valley Capitals captain Cruz Cote takes a face-off against the Powell River Kings’ Nolan Krogfoss during the second period of Friday night’s B.C. Hockey League playoff game at the Cowichan Arena. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan Valley Capitals forward Matt Crasa (24) and defenceman Dimitri Mikrogiannakis (4) celebrate after Crasa scored with 37 left in regulation to send the Caps and Powell River Kings to overtime in game five of their first-round B.C. Hockey League playoff series on Friday night. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

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