Sports

Caps explode for six third-period goals to end losing streak

Breakaway speed is shown by the Caps
Breakaway speed is shown by the Caps' Dane Gibson to pull away from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs' Kurt Gosselin and Craig Martin in Friday night's 6-0 win.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

When the Cowichan Valley Capitals break out of a slump, they go big.

The Caps ended a nine-game B.C. Hockey League losing streak Friday night at Cowichan Arena, blanking the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 6-0.

"It was a long time coming,'' said Caps' coach Bob Beatty.

"We never like to lose,'' said Caps' goalie Robin Gusse, who recorded the shutout. "When it's going like nine in a row and it's just rolling, you want to stop it at nine in a row.''

Gusse made 18 saves through two periods and had a busier time in the third, facing 12 more shots for a total of 30 without giving up a goal.

"I didn't give up any goals but all the team was doing what it takes to stop goals and block shots,'' he said. "We did well defensively.''

Despite flawless goaltending, the game was scoreless through two periods as the Caps' offense continued to struggle. All of a sudden, everybody started to light the lamp with six different players scoring in the third period: Dane Gibson, Mitch Ball, Brayden Gelsinger, Mason Malkowich, Jordan Topping and Myles Powell.

"When we explode, we just kept on going,'' said Gusse.

"That was surprising,'' he added of the six-goal outburst in one period. "I think that was a first.

"I was thinking the game would end up 1-0 or 2-0 with a goal in the empty net.''

The victory was a huge relief.

"For the better part of three weeks we missed some great scoring opportunities,'' said Beatty.

"Just getting a couple of goals finally relaxed a little bit of pressure. Players were not gripping (the stick) quite as tight and guys are making plays.''

Gusse cautioned the Caps can't suddenly think of themselves as world-beaters.

"We all know we didn't win the Cup,'' he said. "We can't let ourselves go. We have to still be conscious of the work we still have to do. We're still one-and-nine in the last 10 games. We still have a lot of things to work on.

"You try to get the momentum from winning that game. It's a big win after being in a slump like that.''

Gusse, who has extensive Major Junior experience, said he can't recall a time when any team he's played for came close to losing 10 in a row.

Streaks like that are such an arbitrary thing, he conceded, because there are games the Caps might have won under ordinary circumstances.

"Personally, I think in the first couple we didn't play good enough,'' Gusse said. "I don't think we were working hard enough and applying the details.

"By the second half of that slump, we started to play a better game and we got some unlucky bounces.''

There's never any guarantee trades are going to work out for the better, but Gusse acknowledges it was probably necessary for the Caps to make a fresh start. "Only time will tell us,'' he said.

"We've got to work hard to get points,'' said Beatty. "Again, we just reset six games before Christmas.''

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