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Caps hit a dead end to the season
The worst-case scenario happened for the Cowichan Valley Capitals Saturday and they were eliminated from B.C. Hockey League playoff contention.
The Caps lost in Victoria to the Grizzlies 5-2 while the Alberni Valley Bulldogs leapfrogged into the final Island Division playoff spot with a 3-0 victory on home ice over the Powell River Kings.
Any other combination of wins or losses and overtime wins or losses would have nailed down a playoff spot for the Caps, who had the edge in any tiebreaker over the Bulldogs. In the end, Alberni's one point from an overtime loss in Powell River last Tuesday was the difference.
The Bulldogs finished with 51 points to the Caps' 50.
The Caps had fate in their own hands, the most desirable situation, heading into the game at Victoria after beating the Grizzlies 6-4 on home ice Friday night. But they couldn't make it back-to-back victories and the Bulldogs took full advantage.
"We were right there,'' said Caps' captain Kyle Horsman, who picked up his offensive production with three goals on the final weekend for 13 on the season. "Things weren't going our way. We didn't put together a full 60 (minutes).''
Horsman's second goal of the game with 5:25 remaining gave the Caps a chance for at least a tie they needed to advance. But Victoria's Leo Fitzgerald came right back with a goal a minute later that basically sunk the Caps, putting them in a two-goal hole.
Myles Fitzgerald's empty-netter sealed the Caps' fate.
"It was pretty emotional after the game,'' said Horsman.
It was a bitter pill for the Caps to swallow because they made a surge since the second week of January and gained a lot of points. But Alberni Valley did even better to catch them.
"We were both pushing there at the end,'' said Horsman. "It was a good playoff push for both teams.''
Horsman felt it was a great season of personal development for him and he's 100% committed to coming back next season to complete his junior eligibility.
"It was nice to wear the C this year and being in a leadership role,'' he said. "I felt pretty comfortable near the end of the year.''
Horsman was one of six Caps to score in Friday's win over the Grizzlies. Other markers came from Mason Malkowich, Daniel Wanner, Colton Kehler, Myles Powell and Reilly O'Connor.
Malkowich, O'Connor, Matthew Berry-Lamontagna, Blake Butzow, Adam Moody and goalie Robin Gusse have all completed their junior eligibility.
The team's annual awards banquet was set for Tuesday at the Cowichan Golf and Country Club.