An unexpected late-season surge took the Generous Forest Services Cowichan Valley Capitals all the way to the Island peewee Tier 2 championship and a berth in the upcoming provincial tournament.
The underdog Capitals went into the postseason ranked fifth and lost their first playoff game 9-1 to Campbell River, then went undefeated the rest of the way to claim the Island title.
“Obviously, the players were really happy they won,” team manager Kurt Powers said. “Hopefully they will carry that to provincials and compete with the top Tier 2 teams.”
Cowichan swept the best-of-three final series against Racquet Club, winning 8-2 on Feb. 23 and 4-2 on Feb. 24. The Capitals scored six goals in the second period as they won the opening game at Fuller Lake Arena, but the second game in Racquet Club’s home rink in Victoria was a little closer. Cowichan captain Keane Taylor scored twice in the first period, and Linden Powers made it 3-0 with a shorthanded goal in the second. Racquet Club got one back, then Linden Hoskins restored the three-goal lead before the home team added one more.
The playoffs started in late January with a four-game round robin. After dropping their opener, the Capitals went on a roll. They reached the semifinal, a one-game showdown with Peninula, and won 6-2 to reach the final against Racquet Club.
“The boys came in ready to play in that one,” Powers said.
It was an up-and-down season for the Capitals before the playoffs began.
“The boys started out very strong,” Powers related. “September and October were pretty good, but then it was a bumpy road for a while there. They came together at the right time.”
Along the way, the team finished third at the Morgan Rielly Invitational hosted by Hollyburn in November and first at the Comox tournament in late December.
Team captain Taylor and assistants Powers and Landon Carson, all of whom played for the Cowichan peewee Tier 2 team that went to provincials last year, set the tone for this year’s team, and the Capitals also got strong goaltending from Quentin (Q) Ewart, who had to play the semifinal and final games when fellow netminder Parker Jubenville got sick.
In addition to title sponsor Generous Forest Services, the Capitals also received support from Purica, who donated granola bars and snacks. The team is coached by Gary Blace, Chris Blace, Chris Wilkinson and Drayson Akhurst.
The provincial tournament will be hosted by Hollyburn in West Vancouver on March 16-20.