Starts stymie Caps on road

The Cowichan Valley Capitals returned from the holidays to a sluggish start against the Surrey Eagles last Friday, and continued that trend through the next two games of their first weekend of 2014.

When all was said and done, the Caps finished with losses to Surrey and the Langley Rivermen sandwiched around a tie with the Coquitlam Express.

Just over 12 minutes into their game in Surrey, the Caps trailed 3-0. Although Cowichan managed to cut the lead to a single goal three times, Surrey prevailed 6-4 in the end.

"We played well but couldn’t catch them," Beatty said. "We made the game close, but not close enough."

The pattern continued, roughly, as the Caps tied Coquitlam 4-4 on Saturday and lost 6-2 to Langley on Sunday, trailing the Rivermen 5-0 before they got on the board in the third period.

"I would say that was the general story for sure," Beatty said. "Even the Coquitlam game we didn’t start well. Our starts were less than desirable all three games."

Against Surrey, Dane Gibson led the way with two goals, Jordan Topping and Clint Filbrandt had singles, and Jarrett Brown had two assists. Mason Malkowich came up big in Coquitlam with two goals and one helper, while Brown and Matthew Berry-LaMontagna had one goal apiece and Gibson had two assists. Berry-LaMontagna and Brayden Gelsinger provided the offence in Langley.

Beatty singled out several players for their efforts over the weekend, including Malkowich ("I thought he played well and rose to the occasion"), Brown, Colton Kehler, the line of Topping, Sam Curleigh and Daniel Wanner, and Gelsinger. Unfortunately, that wasn’t what the coach was looking for.

"It’s a little late in the year to be really happy about individual performances," he said. "We’ve got to put it together as a team and put some wins together."

The Caps will try to turn things around as they play a key divisional matchup with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 7 p.m. this Friday. "Obviously it’s a huge game on Friday night, with Alberni just two points behind us," Beatty said. "It’s definitely as big a game as we’ve had all season."

On Sunday, the Cowichan Caps plays host to the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

"They’ve got a good team," the coach said. "Their top line is certainly explosive. We’ll try and shut them down; they seem to be out every other shift. They rely on one line, but they’re definitely a solid team."