Sports

Caps collect points in four of the last five games

Backhanded stab at the puck is taken by Myles Powell of the Victoria Grizzlies, but the Caps’ Rylan Bechtel is there to thwart his efforts in front of netminder Connor LaCouvee. - Andrew Leong
Backhanded stab at the puck is taken by Myles Powell of the Victoria Grizzlies, but the Caps’ Rylan Bechtel is there to thwart his efforts in front of netminder Connor LaCouvee.
— image credit: Andrew Leong

Maybe all the Cowichan Valley Capitals needed was to be playing more often.

Having played just five games in 21 days before the B.C. Hockey League’s Christmas break, the Caps returned to a hectic slate of action with five games in just seven days.

They seemed to handle the increased workload relatively well, with just one regulation-time loss in the five games.

The Caps beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 2-1 on the road on New Year’s Eve and then tripped up the Victoria Grizzlies 3-2 in overtime two nights later on home ice.

The Caps got goals from Teal Burns and Mitch Ball against the Bulldogs. Kyle Horsman pulled the Caps into a tie with 2:34 left in regulation time against the Grizzlies, setting the stage for Steen Cooper’s winner 2:30 into overtime.

Jesse Neher had the other marker for the Caps in the Victoria game.

The Caps then hit the road for three games in three days, losing 8-1 in West Kelowna Friday before rallying for a 3-3 tie in Salmon Arm Saturday against the SilverBacks and losing 4-3 in overtime to the Rivermen in Langley Sunday.

“We’ve picked up some points and done OK in the last five games,’’ said Caps’ coach Jim Ingram. “We’ve picked up six points of a possible 10.’’

It was a perfect storm for the Caps against the West Kelowna Warriors, Ingram said.

“West Kelowna’s a good team and we were exceptionally flat that night — a deadly combination,’’ he said.

The Warriors broke the game open in the last five minutes of the second period. It was only 2-1 at the time, but two powerplay goals before the intermission set the stage for a four-goal West Kelowna third period.

The Caps put the game out of their system and finished the trip on a high note.

“I loved the way we played the last couple of games,’’ said Ingram.

The Caps came back from a 3-0 deficit in the third period to tie the SilverBacks and had a chance to win it during the three-on-three overtime, but Cooper couldn’t convert a penalty shot.

Dane Gibson, Jamie Waddington and Luke Gordon rallied the Caps with third-period goals.

At Langley, the Caps extended the Rivermen to overtime before Derek Sutcliffe decided the issue.

Burns and defencemen Tyler Mueller and Jarrett Brown were the marksmen for the Caps.

Connor LaCouvee has played very well in goal for the Caps since taking over as the No. 1 man after Derek Dun was dealt to the Nanaimo Clippers for future considerations.

Ingram is staying the course with his young players receiving oodles of ice time.

“I’m trying to build something here so we don’t have that mass turnover rate we’ve been having,’’ he said.

Ingram has already been on the phones with discussions leading up to Thursday night’s trade deadline, but nothing serious is in the works yet.

The Caps will suddenly be keeping busy with three more games this weekend and five at home in the next 15 days.

“We just sat idle too much in September, October, November — the whole three months,’’ said Ingram. “I don’t think it helped.’’

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