While the Cowichan Valley Capitals had the last week off, the rest of the B.C. Hockey League remained active, and most of the teams they are battling for playoff berths in the Coastal Conference have caught up to them in terms of games played.
Although the Caps remain at the bottom of the standings in terms of points, their mission is much clearer.
With 11 games left, the ninth-place Caps have 29 points in the standings. The Powell River Kings are one point ahead, and also have 11 games remaining, and the Coquitlam Express are one point up on the Caps with 12 games left to play.
“Now we know exactly what we need to do,” Cowichan head coach Brian Passmore said. “We’ve got to win our games. We can’t be worried about what other teams are doing. The playoffs, for us, are starting, but I’ve said that before. There’s no room for error anymore; we haven to get results.”
The Caps missed a chance to earn two points and take two away from the Express last Wednesday when they lost 4-2 at the Cowichan Arena. After Coquitlam took a 3-0 lead in the first period, Jordan Edwards got Cowichan on the board with a powerplay goal in the second. The Express made it 4-1 before Zach Brault’s first of the season, also on the powerplay, got the Caps back within a pair. The Caps outshot the Express 33-25, but Coquitlam goalie Carter Woodside made 31 saves to McCoy Bidewell’s 21.
“We got off to a bad start, digging ourselves a hole,” Passmore reflected. “We were disappointed, obviously. It’s something we’ve got to not let happen again. It was a big game. The mood was not good after that game.”
The Caps have three important games coming up against the Kings — at home on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., and in Powell River next Wednesday — but first they have to take on the Victoria Grizzlies at the Q Centre this Friday.
“The more important games are against Powell River,” Passmore acknowledged. “But we want to get every point that’s out there.”
The Caps haven’t beaten the Grizzlies yet this year, coming their closest in a 4-3 overtime loss in their last meeting on Jan. 22.
Young goalie Matthew Hutchison is expected to get a start in one of the next few games. Evan May was called up to the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League last week, so Hutchison is serving as backup to Bidewell. The Nanaimo product made his BCHL debut on Oct. 31, less than a month after his 15th birthday, stopping 51 of 53 shots in a 4-2 win over the visiting Vernon Vipers.