A season-record offensive outburst spurred the Cowichan Valley Capitals to a 7-3 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks at the Island Savings Centre on Saturday, bringing an end to a four-game losing streak.
"We were just getting bounces our way," head coach Bob Beatty said. "All in all, it was a pretty good effort. As a rule, we haven’t been scoring that many goals this year; we certainly don’t expect to get that many every night."
Back in form a week after returning from a 13-game stint on the injured list, Thomas Gobeil scored twice and added an assist. Recent additions to the lineup Kade Kehoe and Adam Osczevski each had a goal and an assist, as did rookie Sean Harrison and captain Kyle Horsman, and Luke Santerno also found the back of the net. Defenceman Rylan Bechtel had four assists, and fellow blueliner Skylar Pacheco added two.
"It was good to see our scoring come from different sources," Beatty said. "All our lines are going pretty well."
The Caps went 3-for-10 on the powerplay, while holding the Silverbacks to 1-for-6. Cowichan goalie Lane Michasiw made 31 saves for his third win of the season. The Caps had 41 on the Salmon Arm net.
"It was good to see us put up over 40 shots on net," Beatty said. "That’s an indication that we were moving the puck and getting offensive zone time. It’s tough to get much offence when you’re running around in your own end."
Even in victory, Beatty was cautious about getting too excited, although he hoped the win would lead to future success for his team.
"It’s one game, so it’s a small sample, but we’re hoping we can build on it, no doubt," he said.
Saturday’s win came on the heels of a close 3-2 loss to the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday night.
"I thought we had enough scoring chances to win the game handily, but we didn’t capitalize on our scoring chances," Beatty said. "Unfortunately, we can’t get it back; it was an opportunity to get a couple of points."
The teams took turns scoring in the first period. Trail was first on the board, 59 seconds after the opening faceoff, but Sean Harrison replied for the Caps at 4:32. The Smoke Eaters again took the lead at 12:49, but defenceman Skylar Pacheco, who had earlier set up Harrison’s goal, tied things at 2-2 at the 13:53 mark.
The Smokies’ winning goal came with the Caps on the powerplay, when Jake Lucchini picked off a Cowichan pass and fed Charlie Zuccarini, who skated the length of the ice and beat Capitals goalie Matt Zentner.
Zentner finished the game with 36 saves on 39 shots, while the Caps had 30 of their 32 shots turned away.
The Caps will be on the road for their next three games, visiting the Victoria Grizzlies on Wednesday, then heading to Powell River for back-to-back contests with the Kings on Friday and Saturday.
The Caps have yet to win on the road this season, so every game becomes more crucial.
"That’s something we’re going to have to change," Beatty said. "Victoria is ahead of us, and there’s a pretty big point spread, but if we’re going to try and narrow it, that has to start right now."