Berths in Tier 1 hockey playoffs will be decided this weekend
Cowichan Valley rep hockey teams have some work to do this weekend to keep pace in the playoff race.
The Bantam Tier 1 Capitals, who are hosting the provincial championships March 16 to 22 at Cowichan Arena, opened the playoffs with a 5-3 loss to Nanaimo Saturday in Duncan.
The Caps receive an automatic provincial berth as tournament hosts, but still want to earn their way in.
Cowichan, Nanaimo, Racquet Club and Comox are playing a single round robin in the first round, with the top two teams advancing to a best-of-three island final.
Nanaimo has given the Caps trouble all season.
"We've yet to beat them,'' said Cowichan coach Derek Topping. "We've had some close games with them.''
This was no exception. It was tied 3-3 when Nanaimo scored with about three minutes left and then added an empty-netter.
Ryan Hogg, Tanner Tiel and Ben Berard scored the Cowichan goals.
Overall, "we have had a good season,'' said Topping. "Tournament play we've done really well in, won one tournament and lost in the semifinals in the other two.''
Cowichan completes the first round with games against Racquet Club Saturday at 11 a.m. at Cowichan Arena and at Comox Sunday.
Midgets going for broke
The Cowichan Valley Midget Tier 1 Capitals are in a four-team logjam after the opening playoff weekend.
The Caps tied Comox 3-3 Saturday at Cowichan Arena while Nanaimo and Racquet Club also tied.
Graham Winship scored the tying goal for the Caps on an assist from Jeremy Breeze at the nine-minute mark of the third period.
Winship also scored the team's opening goal, assisted by Andrew Jack and Hayden Gross, in the first period. The other goal came from Jack a minute and a half into the second period on assists from Landen Bodger and Gross.
"I feel we came out quite timid, to be honest,'' Cowichan coach Aaron Spotts said about the game.
"They worked hard and I don't know if we were quite prepared. To be honest, it was one of the worst games we have played in this second half of the year. We were lucky to walk away with the tie.''
The Caps play the final two games of the first round on the road at Nanaimo Saturday and at Victoria Racquet Club Sunday.
"I've got full confidence in our guys that we're going to bounce back,'' said Spotts. "Our focus this week in practice is Saturday to get two points and give ourselves an opportunity to clinch that spot on Sunday.
"We obviously want to be in control of our own destiny.''