Lane Michasiw’s first B.C. Hockey League shutout couldn’t have come at a better time.
The Cowichan Valley Capitals goaltender made 32 saves last Saturday to backstop the Caps to a 3-0 victory over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, making up for a lacking effort from his teammates.
“It was great to see Lane get the shutout,” Capitals head coach Bob Beatty said. “It was great for him and the team to see him perform like he did. It gives you confidence when you have two good goaltenders.
“The rest of the team was a little sluggish in that game, to say the least. Coming off the break, we had ice after our [Dec. 30] game, then we didn’t skate until game time [against Alberni]. That’s no excuse, but we were pretty flat. If Lane wasn’t as sharp as he was, it could have been a different result.”
All the Cowichan goals came in the third period as Kade Kehoe, Patrick Geary and recent addition Josh Adkins found the net.
Three days earlier, the Caps closed out 2015 with a 5-3 loss to the Nanaimo Clippers. Nanaimo scored three unanswered goals in the first period before the Caps got going in the second and third.
Adkins had his first two goals in a Cowichan jersey, while Matt Hudie also scored. Ryan Burton assisted on both of Adkins’s goals in his return to the lineup. Storm Phaneuf made 30 saves in the loss.
“We kind of hurt ourselves,” Beatty said. “We were a little sluggish, and they took advantage of a couple of opportunities early. We battled back and made a game of it, certainly in the third period, but it was too little, too late.”
As has been the case in games between the Caps and Clippers recently, the officials were kept busy doling out penalties: 30 minutes to the Clippers and 22 to the Caps.
“They’re getting fairly testy, if you will,” Beatty said. “There is certainly a rivalry building. One thing we have to do is quit reacting to what they’re bringing after the whistle and not get caught up in it. That’s their game, and it works for them. We have to keep our emotions under control and focus on what’s important.”
Adkins has compiled three goals in two games for the Caps since being acquired from Alberni for Rhett Willcox late last month, including one each on the powerplay and penalty kill.
“Josh has been a great addition, obviously,” Beatty said. “With three goals in two games, he’s fitting in very well. He’s chipping in offensively and he’s a pretty responsible player.”
Adkins will get to see a lot of his former teammates in January as the Caps play four of six against the Bulldogs, including last Saturday’s 3-0 win. Familiarity breeds contempt, and Beatty wouldn’t be surprised if tensions between Cowichan and Alberni reach the same level as between the Caps and Clippers.
“Alberni always plays hard,” Beatty said. “There are some things that could certainly bring the intensity level up.”
The Capitals will visit the Bulldogs this Friday, then play host to the Mainland Division’s Langley Rivermen at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“They’ve got a big, physical team,” Beatty said. “They’re battling in their division for position. They’ve had a pretty successful year. It should be a good, physical game.”