The Cowichan Valley Capitals’ two games last weekend could scarcely have been more different, at least in terms of the final results.
On Friday, the Caps lost 7-1 to the visiting West Kelowna Warriors at the Island Savings Centre. The next night, on the same ice surface, the same team beat the Coquitlam Express 5-0 with Lane Michasiw picking up his second shutout of the season.
“Obviously, consistency is an issue,” said Capitals head coach Bob Beatty, whose team finished their January B.C. Hockey League schedule with five wins, four losses and a tie. “I think against Coquitlam we had a pretty solid performance. Obviously, Lane played well; he made some big saves.
“On Friday, we had some really good chances to tie it up [in the second period]; we had three quality scoring chances, and we let the game get away.”
Of course, there are no easy answers to why the same team can have such completely different results on back-to-back nights.
“If I had the cure for inconsistency, I’d be a rich man,” Beatty said. “Every team in junior hockey would hire me as a consultant. I hear about it from every fan, but it’s not something that’s particularly exclusive to our team. It’s something we have to get on top of if we are going to make a push down the stretch to get some momentum going into the playoffs. I’ve seen teams with inconsistent efforts win a playoff series, but it doesn’t happen very often. It’s something we’ve got to figure out as a group.”
After the Warriors went up 2-0 in the first period on Friday, Kade Kehoe scored his team-best 20th of the season from Chris Harpur and Matthew Hudie to narrow the gap just before the seven-minute mark of the second period.
That was it for the Caps as the Warriors scored five more unanswered goals.
Cowichan goalie Storm Phaneuf had a rare off night, allowing seven goals on 27 shots.
Michasiw got called on to spell Phaneuf late in Friday’s game and held the Warriors scoreless, then made 30 saves on Saturday for his second career shutout, which was also his second shutout in the month of January.
“He seemed to be in control,” Beatty said. “He looked confident. He didn’t give a lot of rebounds up; he was smothering pucks.”
Even with Michasiw’s perfect outing, Beatty felt the game hinged on a few key moments.
“Coquitlam had some chances, and if they had capitalized, there could have been a different outcome.”
Ayden MacDonald scored twice in the win, while Hudie and Mitch Meek each had a goal and an assist, and Ryan Burton also notched one.
Beatty’s team is off to Powell River this weekend for two games against the Kings, who sit second in the Island Division with five more points than the Caps. The Kings also boast the best home record in the division.
“Obviously, when you’re playing a team just ahead of you or just behind you in the standings, it magnifies the importance,” Beatty said. “We haven’t had a lot of success in Powell River, and they seem to be a pretty strong home team year after year, but we’re two teams on the same ice surface — it’s not as if it’s strange; we’ve been there before.”
The Caps will be without some key players this weekend, as captain Adam Osczevski will miss the first game and Corey Hoffman will miss both due to suspensions incurred last weekend.