The midget A Cowichan Valley Capitals lost the opening game of their best-of-three Island championship series against the Peninsula Eagles, but they aren’t even close to counting themselves out.
Peninsula prevailed 4-3 at the Panorama Rec Centre, the final score indicating just how close the game was.
“It could have gone either way,” Cowichan coach Keith Mazurenko said. “It’s a tight matchup. We had chances to score, too.”
Peninsula took a 2-0 lead in the first six minutes of play, but the Capitals answered back with a goal by Luke Handel, set up by Parker Bergstrom, and Peninsula was up by one at the end of the first period.
The Eagles scored the only goal of the second, but the Capitals came in strong in the third as Bergstrom scored twice to knot things at 3-3, with assists by Handel and Riley Windsor.
Peninsula scored the winner with just over eight minutes left.
Chris Akerman held the fort in the Cowichan net.
“It was a really well-played, exciting game. I’m proud of the boys coming back from being down 3-1. They didn’t slow down. They didn’t quit.”
The series will move to Fuller Lake Arena this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. A Cowichan win will send the teams back to Panorama for a winner-take-all third game on Sunday at 2:10 p.m.
Mazurenko is confident that his team can win two straight and take the provincial berth.
“We definitely could have won that game just as easily,” he said. “The boys aren’t down. They’re just excited to get another opportunity.”
Fans who turn out to Fuller Lake can expect some high-calibre hockey.
“It sounds like there’s going to be a decent crowd, and all that makes a difference,” Mazurenko said. “The last game was fast and physical, but there weren’t a lot of penalties. It was really good hockey to watch.”
The Capitals expect to get Shane Whitefield back for Saturday’s game, although Brendan Hogg and Matt Lemire remain sidelined.