Silver mining was a staple of the Arizona economy for decades, and the pee wee Tier 1 Cowichan Valley Capitals continued that trend when they struck silver, finishing second in the elite division at the sixth annual Cactus Cup tournament in Phoenix last month.
The Cowichan team showed from the outset that they meant business, beating the Utah Regulators 8-1 in their first game. Defensive stalwarts Nathan Goliath and Hunter Livingston were both plus-five, and Goliath matched Marcus Steen with three assists. Jo Jo Tanaka-Campbell potted a hat trick, while Isaac Leik and Cody Shepheard each had a goal and two assists.
Goliath and Shepheard each scored twice in the next game, a 5-1 win over the Phoenix Firebirds.
The Capitals closed out the preliminary round with an 8-4 loss to the Phoenix Junior Coyotes. Corson Hopwo recorded two goals and an assist, and Ty Brant had an assist and was plus-three.
In the semifinals, Cowichan faced a B.C. foe in the form of the Semiahmoo Ravens, and came away with a 5-1 victory. Hopwo got in on all five goals, scoring twice and setting up the other three, while Tanaka-Campbell had two goals and one helper.
The tournament final was a rematch with the Junior Coyotes. The Capitals held the lead going into the third period, but ran out of gas down the stretch and ended up losing 5-3. Shepheard had a goal and an assist, and Hopwo set up all three Cowichan goals.
The trip to Phoenix also included a chance to watch the NHL’s Coyotes beat the Vancouver Canucks, and through head coach Bret Hopwo’s connections the players got to see the Coyotes dressing room and meet Canadian Olympic goalie Mike Smith and Phoenix captain Shane Doan.
The Caps returned home to play their final league game against Peninsula, winning 9-0 to finish league play at 12-0. Luc Wilson had an exceptional five goals and one assist, while Sasha Rouselle had the shutout.