Sports

Caps battle hard for points against league powerhouses

Cowichan Valley Capitals
Cowichan Valley Capitals' Myles Powell battles to keep control of the puck against the checking of Langley's Jackson Wanick Saturday night at Cowichan Arena.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Cowichan Valley Capitals earned two points the hard way from a pair of B.C. Hockey League games at Cowichan Arena.

The Caps went into overtime two nights in a row, losing 5-4 to the Powell River Kings Friday and remaining tied 2-2 at the end of 10 minutes of extra time Saturday with the Langley Rivermen.

"We played hard,'' said Caps' coach Bob Beatty, whose team had won three of the last four games heading into the weekend. "It was a pretty good benchmark. These were the two teams with the most points in the league going into the weekend.''

Holding their own against the league's best is huge for the Caps at this point in the season after six straight home games.

"I think we've gained some confidence over the home stretch,'' said Beatty. "They've been working hard and playing well.''

The Caps were coming off a 2-1 win over the Kings the previous weekend and gave the Island Division leaders a run for their money again.

Goals by Colton Kehler, Mason Malkowich and Adam Moody in the second period erased a 2-0 Kings' first-period lead. Dane Gibson put the Caps ahead by two in the first minute of the third, but they couldn't hang on.

Jarid Lukosevicius tied the game with 1:07 left in regulation time and also notched the winner 27 seconds into the three-on-three phase of overtime.

The Caps also battled the Mainland Division leading Rivermen to a stalemate through 60 minutes of regulation time and 10 minutes of overtime.

Gibson's power play marker in the second and Daniel Wanner's equalizer with 4:08 left in regulation accounted for the Caps' scoring.

Wanner's goal was typical of how different players are rising to the occasion at different times.

"He did the right thing and went to the net,'' said Beatty of Wanner's goal.

"They made the most of their one shift in the third period,'' he added of his fourth-line unit.

Having veterans Malkowich and Moody available for regular duty after rocky seasons with injuries has made a big difference to the Caps of late.

"Both are getting into the swing of things,'' said Beatty.

"With Mason, the surgery on his hand, it kept him from being able to shoot and it took the flexibility out of his wrist.''

Defenceman Blake Butzow has also been a key figure for the Caps since being acquired from Penticton.

"He's so solid defensively,'' said Beatty. "He makes good plays with the puck. He's not flashy, but he's a good defensive player.''

The Caps hit the road for the first time in a while this weekend and it'll be a tough trip to Powell River for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.

"It doesn't get any easier going to Powell River,'' said Beatty. "We just have to find a way.''

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