After a split at the B.C. Hockey League Showcase in Chilliwack last week, the road-weary Cowichan Valley Capitals were stymied by a hot Alberni Valley Bulldogs goaltender in a loss on Saturday.
The Showcase started for the Caps with a 10 a.m. game against the Langley Rivermen on Wednesday. Neither team adapted well to the early start time, but Langley ended up prevailing 4-2.
“Both teams were only OK,” Capitals head coach Mike Vandekamp said. “We didn’t play poorly. We outshot them [36-22]. The first shot of the game went in for them; we were behind and we never seemed to get any better.”
Both Cowichan goals were scored by Matthew Crasa, the first on a first period powerplay to make it 1-1, and the second with six and a half minutes left in the third. Ben Howard made his second start in the Capitals’ net and stopped 18 of 22 shots.
Brady Lynn scored three times the next afternoon as the Caps defeated the Surrey Eagles 4-2. Will Arquiett also scored, while Olivier Gauthier had three assists and Tyrell Boucher and Cruz Cote each had two helpers. Zach Borgiel got back between the pipes and made 19 saves, while the Caps outshot the Eagles 30-21.
“It was good to get back on top of things with a win after losing the day before,” Vandekamp said.
The Caps returned to Vancouver Island for Saturday’s game against the Bulldogs, but were still playing their sixth game in nine days, all on the road. Again the Caps held the edge in terms of shots, but Alberni’s Jackson Glassford turned aside 47 of 48 attempts, while Borgiel allowed three goals on 22 shots for just his second loss in 11 starts this season. Luc Wilson scored Cowichan’s lone goal on a second-period powerplay.
“I thought we could have served to put a little bit more pressure around their net,” Vandekamp said. “Their goalie was a factor, for sure.”
The 9-4 Caps remain atop the Island Division standings, four points ahead of the Powell River Kings. Their .692 win percentage is fourth in the league, trailing the undefeated Penticton Vees, the Coquitlam Express and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.
After six straight games away from home, the Caps will return to the Cowichan Arena this Friday to host the Trail Smoke Eaters at 7 p.m. Trail has won five in a row after starting the season with six straight losses. On Saturday, the Caps will travel to Powell River to face the Kings.