The Cowichan Valley Capitals picked up their first road win of the 2017-18 B.C. Hockey League season last Friday, as part of a split on hostile territory.
The Caps beat the Powell River Kings 5-3 in Powell River on Friday, but had to settle for a 4-2 loss when the teams met again the following evening.
“We played really well on Friday,” Cowichan head coach Brian Passmore said. “It was a good team win. We scored five again — it seems like we have to score five to win. Some guys that don’t score at a high rate for us chipped in.”
The Caps opened the scoring with four and a half minutes left in the first period as Tate Coughlin extended his goal-scoring streak to four games. The Kings responded with a powerplay goal just over three minutes later, and the first period ended in a 1-1 deadlock. David Laroche and Cole Broadhurst put the Caps up by two in the second, and Nicholas Wilson scored early in the third, chasing Kings starter Mitch Adamyk.
Powell River scored next, followed by Cowichan defenceman Simon Chen, and then Powell River with another powerplay goal. Laroche finished the night with a goal and an assist, while goalie Michael Corson made 41 saves in his first start for the Caps. The Caps went 0-for-1 on the powerplay, while the Kings were 2-for-6, with Duncan’s own Ben Berard earning assists on both of the Kings’ powerplay goals.
“On Saturday, we came out good, and I thought we played a strong first half,” Passmore said. “I didn’t like the way we lost that game. We ran to the box too many times, and we stopped skating; we allowed them to win the one-on-one battles. I was pleased with the effort, but I don’t understand some of the things that happened.”
The Kings opened the scoring at 3:14 of the first, then made it 2-0 at 11:52. Caps blueliner Marshall Skapski notched his second of the season at 18:02 of the first and Ethan Scardina pulled the Caps even with a powerplay goal at 2:18 of the second. Johnny Evans scored the eventual game-winner on a 3-on-0 shorthanded breakaway at 18:06, then added a powerplay marker early in the third. The Caps went 1-for-5 on the powerplay on Saturday while holding the Kings to 1/9. J.J. Pichette made 29 saves in the Cowichan net, and Berard added another two assists for Powell River.
Finally winning a game on the road should give the Caps a boost as they embark on a three-game trip this weekend that will see them visit the Prince George Spruce Kings on Friday, the league-leading Vernon Vipers on Saturday, and the Surrey Eagles on Sunday.
“Obviously, getting that win will give us some confidence on the road,” Passmore said. “We know going on the road we will get more penalties. These things happen in this league. We have to play smart and stick to the process and stay together. It will be a good challenge for us.”
The junior hockey trade deadline will pass on Wednesday, and Passmore expects to be active. The team is carrying five healthy defencemen, and forward Raphael Gosselin has been skating on the blueline in recent games.
“We need to add a defenceman with Nii Noi Tetteh out for the season, basically,” he said. “We’re looking anywhere we can for a quality defenceman who can help us this year and next year. We like the chemistry of our team, we like our leadership; we’re focused on what the team needs.”