For the first time since 2012, the midget Tier 2 Cowichan Valley Capitals are headed to the provincial championships.
Cowichan swept their best-of-three Island title series against the Peninsula Eagles, winning 4-3 at Panorama last Saturday and 5-4 in overtime at the Island Savings Centre on Sunday, earning a berth at the B.C. tournament.
“It was sure really exciting to watch the boys pull it off in overtime,” Cowichan head coach Keith Mazurenko said. “That was nice for them. We were really concerned about going back to their rink. They tend to be pretty strong there.”
Cowichan got goals from Brendan Hogg and Rhys Mazurenko to take a 2-0 lead in the first period, and Luke Handel and Jamie Roberts as they held a 4-2 edge after two. Mazurenko assisted on both second-period goals, and David Eastman, Andrew Strobl and Kevin Stewart also collected helpers. Trent Baslee earned the win in net.
The Capitals and Eagles went back and forth throughout Sunday’s game, and Peninsula scored twice in the third to force overtime. Hogg scored his second of the game three minutes into the extra session to send Cowichan to provincials. Handel also had a goal and two assists, Mazurenko had a goal and one assist, and Strobl also scored. Also recording helpers were Eastman, Roberts, Matt Lemire and Brady Williams.
Cowichan has accomplished their remarkable playoff run with just 13 skaters, and had just 11 for most of the first game against Peninsula as one player served the last game of a suspension and another left the game early. Fitness and commitment to the team have kept the players going.
“It’s a testament to the hard work the guys have put in,” Keith Mazurenko said. “The last few weeks, at practice, they’ve put their foot down and found a way to last three periods and still have gas left in the tank.”
The Capitals will head to Quesnel for the provincial championships on March 17-22.
“It’s a long road trip, but everybody is looking forward to it. It was the big goal we set at the beginning of the year. It will be a great experience to get up there and play in the B.C.’s. I think the goal when you’re going to play at something like this where you don’t know the other teams is to go there ready to win provincials. We hope to be successful.”
To help offset the cost of travelling to Quesnel and staying there for six days, the Capitals are holding a burger sale outside of Mr. Mikes in Duncan on Saturday, March 10 from noon to 2 p.m. Burgers will sell for $5 each, with all proceeds going toward travel costs.