The Cowichan Valley Capitals were right in the mix at the BC Hockey midget Tier 2 provincial championships in Quesnel last week.
With three wins, two losses and one tie, the Capitals tied for third behind the host team and Prince George. Quesnel went on to defeat Prince George in the tournament final.
“It was really a tight tournament all around,” Cowichan head coach Keith Mazurenko said. “It hurts a little to be that close, but all-around it was good for the guys.
“I thought we were at the same level. I thought we had as much of an opportunity to win as any team. Things have to all fall into place. That didn’t quite happen, but I was proud of the way the guys played. We just didn’t play our best. There were too many penalties and too many powerplay goals. That kind of hurt us.”
The Capitals opened the tournament with a 7-4 win over Prince George, getting goals from Brendan Hogg, Luke Handel, Rhys Mazurenko, Kevin Stewart, Shane Whitefield and Andrew Strobl, with backup goalie Nathan Needham adding an empty-netter after he came in to replace starter Trent Baslee. Handel, Jamie Roberts and Thomas Webber also had two assists apiece, and Mazurenko added one to go with his goal.
Cowichan’s next game was a 4-2 loss to Thompson as Morley Scott notched a goal and an assist and James Joyce also scored.
That was followed by a 5-2 loss to Quesnel. Stewart scored and also set up Hogg’s goal, and Webber assisted on both markers.
The Capitals bounced back from that defeat with a 4-1 win over Fort St. John, led by two goals from Handel. Hogg and Webber also added one apiece, and Mazurenko had a pair of helpers.
The winning streak continued as Scott had a goal and two assists and Webber had a goal and one helper in a 7-2 victory over Coquitlam. Hogg, Handel, Whitefield, Joyce, and Brady Williams also scored, and Roberts recorded three assists.
Cowichan wrapped up the tournament with a 2-2 tie with Port Moody. Hogg and David Eastman did the scoring.
“I thought everybody played solid hockey up there,” Keith Mazurenko said. “Our goalie, Trent, had a strong tournament, for sure.”
Eleven Cowichan players are aging out of midget this year, including coach Mazurenko’s son Rhys. Representing Vancouver Island at the provincial championships was a good way for the players to go out.
“I’m really happy with the way it worked out for them,” Mazurenko said. “They’re a great bunch of guys, and they deserved to be there with the work they put in. I hope some of the guys carry on playing hockey. There’s enough ability there if they want to continue to junior A or junior B. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.”