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Hometown product Cooper among the Caps' dealings
The Cowichan Valley Capitals shuffled the deck before the B.C. Hockey League's Dec. 1 cut-down date and hope all the cards fall into place.
Among those dealt in three transactions was valley product Steen Cooper, 18, who played for the Canada West Team in the recent World Junior A Hockey Challenge in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He went to the Penticton Vees in exchange for defencemen Clint Filbrandt and Matt Berry-Lamontagna and future considerations.
Cooper is in his third season with the Caps. He'll finish this season and one more with the Vees before heading to Minnesota State Mankato, a Div. 1 National Collegiate Athletic Association school, for 2015-16.
"It was a very difficult move,'' said Caps' head coach Bob Beatty. "It was one I frankly had no desire to make.''
Beatty likes the puck skills and solid defensive play he's getting in return from Berry-Lamontagna and Filbrandt.
"They will solidify our back end and will contribute at both ends of the ice,'' Beatty indicated.
Berry-Lamontagna is a 20-year-old with plenty of experience who will provide a veteran presence and leadership. Filbrandt, 18, has a year's experience in the Western Hockey League with a great future and potential.
The Caps also acquired another blueliner, Valik Chichkin, from the Trail Smoke Eaters for the Ball brothers — Mitch and Rylan.
"Chichkin is a player we really wanted,'' said Beatty of the six-foot-three, 206-pound 19-year-old. "He fits in well with what we are looking for. Valik is a big body presence. He has a very good skill set. He will be a great defender and possesses a great shot.''
One other deal brought Ambrose Firkus to the Caps from the West Kelowna Warriors for Taki Pantziris.
Pantziris provided plenty of offense from his defensive position with 10 goals and 10 assists for 20 points in 30 games. He was the third highest goal-scorer on the Caps behind Dane Gibson and Myles Powell.
Firkus, who's from Irma, Alberta and turns 19 Dec. 27, has six goals and 15 assists for 21 points in 23 games.
"Ambrose is one of the most skilled players in the BCHL,'' noted Beatty. "He is a pure sniper that will complement our top line well.
"He is known as a fierce competitor. We are extremely excited to welcome him to our team.''
The Caps are at Alberni Valley Friday and fans will see the new-look Caps for the first time at home Saturday night at 7 against the Vernon Vipers.
"We certainly want to upgrade our product and make a push for this year,'' said Beatty.