The Cowichan Valley Capitals’ longest-tenured player and newest addition came through bigtime last weekend as the B.C. Hockey League team broke a four-game losing streak, but head coach Bob Beatty wasn’t ready to celebrate yet.
"We’re not giddy with ourselves, but it was a lot better weekend, for sure," the coach said. "It’s only one game, so we’re not getting too carried away, but it certainly was a never-give-up game that finally went our way."
Captain Kyle Horsman recorded a natural hat trick, scoring twice in the last five minutes of regulation and again three minutes and 22 seconds into overtime, as the Caps edged the visiting West Kelowna Warriors 6-5. "It was good to see Kyle finally get rewarded," Beatty said. "He works so hard, night in and night out."
Opening the scoring in that same game, and assisting on two of Horsman’s goals was Darien Craighead, who the Caps acquired from the Langley Rivermen on Friday morning.
Craighead also potted both Cowichan goals in a 3-2 loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday, scoring his first goal as a Capital just 17 seconds into the contest, despite not arriving at the rink until after warm-up.
Craighead, who had 22 points in 49 games last season, came to the Caps along with the rights to forward Brendan Gulka in exchange for forward Colten Kehler and defenceman Charlie Pelnik.
The 17-year-old Craighead had been playing with the junior B Langley Knights – where he had 13 points in five games – since asking for a trade from the Rivermen early in the season.
"We’re excited to have him," Beatty said. "And he’s excited to be playing. We don’t expect three goals from him every weekend, but we do expect him to chip in offensively, for sure."
The Caps battled back and forth with the Warriors on Saturday, but trailed 5-3 with less than five minutes to play before Horsman went on his tear.
Also scoring for Cowichan on Saturday were Daniel Wanner, and defenceman Mitch Stapley, who recorded his first BCHL goal, while Skylar Pacheco recorded assists on two of Horsman’s markers. Lane Michasiw got the start between the pipes and made 36 saves on 41 shots for his second career win.
"We did give up five goals, but we don’t want to rain on the parade," Beatty said. "We have to keep improving our play in our own end, for sure."
Gelsinger also set up both of Craighead’s goals on Friday night. The teams were tied at two goals apiece with less than two minutes to play before Alberni’s Dylan Haugen broke the deadlock. Michasiw also played that game, stopping 47 of 50 shots.
The Caps play host to the Nanaimo Clippers on Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m., and Beatty is hoping to carry some of the positive feeling from Saturday over to that game, especially with their next game not until next Sunday.
"Hopefully we can rally and get some momentum off that big comeback," he said. "Obviously, it’s great to get back in the win column, but we have a ways to go before we’re back in the playoff hunt. We have to put some wins together before we can do that."