Lane Michasiw stopped all 38 shots he faced and Trevor Ayre scored the winning goal to continue his hot streak as the Cowichan Valley Capitals shut out the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 2-0 on Wednesday night.
“It was a huge night for Lane and a big win for us,” Capitals head coach Bob Beatty said. “It wasn’t an exceptionally well-played game. Lane was the difference; any time you get a 38-save shutout, you’ve done your job.”
Michasiw earned his first shutout of the 2016-17 B.C. Hockey League season and the third of his career, while Ayre potted his seventh goal of the year with less than four minutes left to play. Max Newton put his team-leading 17th goal of the season into the empty net with eight seconds remaining in the game.
Ayre’s goal was his sixth point in the last six games after he put up just one assist in his first nine appearances with the Caps.
“He’s playing well,” Beatty said. “He’s getting a little more confident and he’s producing.”
There was no love lost between the two teams, who combined for 43 minutes in penalties and went a combined 0-for-11 on the powerplay.
“It was a little bit scrappy for sure,” Beatty said. “Neither team took it easy on each other. We’ve had tight games, hard-fought games. Alberni is a team that doesn’t quit. They’ve got a little bite to their lineup and so do we.”
In a scary moment in the second period, Alberni defenceman Malik Kaila had to be stretchered out after a hit by Cowichan forward Ayden MacDonald. As of Thursday morning, Kaila was awaiting an MRI.
“It’s not something you ever like to see, someone getting hurt,” Beatty said. “It’s not really good news. [Kaila] is a good, solid defenceman and a real good team player. It wasn’t intentional by any stretch of the imagination. [MacDonald] was just finishing his check.”
Beatty said he had spoken with Alberni head coach Kevin Willison on Thursday morning.
“Kevin said we’ve both been around long enough to know that this happens from time to time,” Beatty said. “We just hope for the best, that he’s not seriously injured. That’s the most important thing.”
The Caps have just one more game left before the Christmas break as they host the Prince George Spruce Kings this Saturday at 7 p.m. The game is the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss night as well as Cowichan’s turn to host the B.C. Hockey League’s Five Hole for Food initiative.
“The guys are all ready for a break,” Beatty said. “And they deserve one. But we need to maintain focus in our last game before the break. We need to execute and go into the break with some momentum.”