An exciting season came to its end last Saturday for the midget A Cowichan Valley Capitals.
Playing for a berth at the provincial tournament, the Capitals lost 3-1 to the Peninsula Eagles at Fuller Lake Arena to fall 2-0 in the best-of-seven Island championship series.
Rhys Mazurenko provided all the offence for the Capitals, who were within a goal of the Eagles until the last minute of play. Goalie Chris Akerman kept his team in the game despite heavy pressure from the Eagles.
“It was a really close game,” head coach Keith Mazurenko said. “All the guys played hard. We had lots of chances.”
The Capitals suffered a major blow when their top player and captain, Riley Windsor, suffered an ankle injury on the first shift of the game. Windsor remained in the game, but wasn’t his usual self.
“He’s tough,” the coach said. “He stuck it out. He was playing on one leg, basically. Full credit to him for trying. Riley does everything. He’s on the powerplay, he kills penalties. He’s one of our best defensive forwards. He’s the key to that line, our biggest scoring line. It really hurt us.”
Shane Whitefield was also playing hurt, and Brendan Hogg and Matt Lemire remained sidelined as the Capitals continued to battle the injury bug that plagued them all season.
“I just wish we’d had our full roster and all the guys healthy, to see how we could have done in that case,” said Mazurenko.
As successful as the season was, it was hard to come so close to provincials and miss out, especially for the players who are aging out: Akerman, Windsor, Griffin Webb, Parker Bergstrom and Josh Nadon.
“That would have been a nice way to wrap up the minor hockey careers for the guys who are moving on,” Mazurenko said. “They’re the ones you really want the trip to B.C.’s for. They’ve been good players in the Cowichan Valley system for many years, and they’re a good bunch of guys.”