A home game against the team with the worst record in the B.C. Hockey League was just what the Cowichan Valley Capitals needed to snap out of a post-holiday slump.
After three losses in a row, the Caps got back in the win column on Sunday afternoon with a 5-0 thumping of the Coquitlam Express.
“It was good to get back on track,” Caps head coach Bob Beatty said. “Good to get some pucks in the net, and good to get a win.
“We’d lost three in a row — two close games out of those three, but we still dropped three in a row since the Christmas break. We needed to get a win. I thought we played reasonably well. We moved the puck efficiently. They might have the worst record in the league, but they do have some good players on that team.”
Lane Michasiw made 17 saves for the shutout, while the Caps fired 48 pucks at the Coquitlam net.
“Obviously, when you get a shutout, you’ve done your job,” Beatty said of his veteran netminder. “Sometimes those are more difficult games to play in; when you’re not getting a lot of action, it can be hard to stay focused.”
Max Newton opened the scoring in the first period with his team-leading 20th goal of the season. Affiliate Nick Guerra scored his second of the campaign 11 seconds into the second period, and Ayden MacDonald, Jared Domin and Justin Perron found the net in the third. MacDonald and Newton both finished the game with a goal and an assist.
In addition to Guerra, the Caps also had affiliate defenceman Boo Grist in the lineup. The 17-year-old from Shawnigan Lake School’s prep team made his BCHL debut and fit in fine.
“He had a real solid game,” Beatty said. “He’s a player we’ve committed to for next year. He looks good and he seems to be excited to be part of our team.”
Three other call-ups from Shawnigan made appearances last Friday as the Caps lost 2-1 to the Clippers in Nanaimo: 15-year-old forward Jojo Tanaka-Campbell of Mill Bay, 17-year-old forward Reid Irwin of Victoria, and 17-year-old backup goalie Derek Krall of Crofton.
“Jojo is a smart player with a ton of potential,” Beatty said. “He’ll be a real good junior A player one day. Reid is making an argument for himself for next year. Derek didn’t play, but he’s certainly a player that has some potential as well.”
Nick Wilson scored Cowichan’s lone goal against Nanaimo late in the third period. The Caps had a few chances to even things up in the last four minutes, but couldn’t capitalize.
“I didn’t think we had a terrible effort, but it wasn’t enough to win,” Beatty said. “It would have been nice to steal a point from them, at least.”
The Caps will hit the road this coming weekend for a three-game trip. On Friday they have a rematch with the league-worst Express, followed by a visit to the league-best Wenatchee Wild on Saturday. The trek ends on Sunday with an afternoon date with the West Kelowna Warriors.
“It’s gonna be a tough road trip,” Beatty said. “We’ll put a lot of miles on against some tough teams.”
The BCHL trade window closed on Tuesday night after press time, but Beatty confirmed he was working the phones diligently as the deadline approached.
On Monday, the Caps shipped rookie defenceman Jake Keremidschieff to the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League to alleviate a roster logjam, but that was unlikely to be the last move.
“I’d be surprised if we didn’t have something to announce on Tuesday night,” he said.