Ronan Walsh scored three goals as a comeback fell just short for the Cowichan Valley Capitals in their B.C. Hockey League season opener last Saturday night.
The Caps trailed the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs 5-2 going into the third period on Saturday, but dominated play down the stretch and wound up just a goal shy in a 6-5 loss.
“It was a good game,” Caps head coach Brian Passmore said. “We were down 3-1 after the first period, but I thought we should have been up 3-1. It seemed like every mistake we made ended up in our net.”
Rookie Arjun Bawa came within inches of scoring his first BCHL goal in the first period, although he did end up with three assists on the night. The turning point in the first, Passmore felt, was when the Bulldogs scored with one of their forwards sitting on Cowichan goalie Evan May, and the officials let it stand.
David Jacobs scored the Caps’ first goal of the season on a first-period powerplay to make it 1-1. Defenceman Nick Marciano had Cowichan’s other goal, and also picked up an assist on Walsh’s first of the night in the second period. May finished with 24 saves as the Caps were outshot 40-35.
“We gave ourselves a chance to get back in it,” Passmore said, noting that his team hit a crossbar with about 40 seconds left in the third period after pulling May for the extra skater.
The powerplay was a bright spot for the Caps in the opener, producing three goals on six opportunities, including two of Walsh’s.
“Ronan was shooting the puck well,” Passmore said. “He was at the net; he did a good job in front of the net and was rewarded.”
The Caps lost 3-1 to the Victoria Grizzlies in their first road game of the season on Sunday afternoon. The Grizzlies opened the scoring just 36 seconds into the game and kept the lead from there. Luke Haymes scored Cowichan’s lone goal.
“We didn’t have the same life we did the night before,” Passmore said. “We stuck around, but we had some undisciplined penalties and ended up killing off about 16 minutes. We spent too much time in our own zone.”
The Grizzlies converted only one of their eight powerplay opportunities, while the Caps were 0-for-5 with the advantage. May stopped 37 of 40 shots while the Caps mustered 23 shots on the Victoria net.
The Caps were set to host the Grizzlies on Wednesday night and again on Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by a trip to Port Alberni on Sunday.
“We just want to outwork them,” Passmore said. “We want to compete and be hard to play against. We want to limit their scoring chances and force them to make mistakes; get a lead and play with the lead.”