Griffin Wilson skates in the Cowichan Valley Capitals’ 6-5 overtime loss to the Coquitlam Express last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Griffin Wilson skates in the Cowichan Valley Capitals’ 6-5 overtime loss to the Coquitlam Express last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

OT loss keeps Cowichan Capitals alive in playoff hunt

Caps still in dogfight with Powell River for 8th place

A four-goal comeback to force overtime last Friday night gave the Cowichan Valley Capitals their only point in three games last weekend, but it helped keep them alive in the B.C. Hockey League playoff hunt.

The Caps ultimately lost Friday’s game 6-5 to the Coquitlam Express, who clinched a postseason berth of their own, but they remain in a dogfight with the Powell River Kings for eighth place in the Coastal Conference.

Cowichan also lost 8-2 to the Chilliwack Chiefs on Saturday and 3-2 to the Surrey Eagles on Sunday afternoon.

The battle for the last playoff spot will come right down to the wire. The Caps and Kings are tied with 34 points apiece, but the Kings have three games left to the Caps’ two.

If the teams end up tied in points at the end of the season, the team with the highest number of wins will get the tiebreaker, and the Caps have one more win (14) than the Kings (13).

“It’s up to the players at this point,” Capitals head coach Brian Passmore said. “They know what they have to do, and if they want it bad enough, they will get it done.”

Down 5-1 going into the third period on Friday, the Caps got two goals apiece from Luke Haymes and Massimo Sarantos Lombardi as they mounted late comeback to send the game to overtime. It took the Express just 31 seconds to pot the winner in the extra period. David Jacobs scored Cowichan’s other goal, and McCoy Bidewell made 36 saves as the Caps were outshot 52-35.

The game was also the last at the Cowichan Arena for Duncan product Kahlil Fontana, who is aging out after his third year in the BCHL. Fontana started his career with the Victoria Grizzlies in 2019-20, and played for the Capitals in the 2020-21 pod season, posting nine points in 17 games. He has 24 points in 46 games with Coquitlam this year.

On Saturday, the Caps trailed the Chiefs 7-0 before Griffin Wilson scored their first of the night at 9:33 of the third period. Matty Edwards added his third of the season just 48 seconds later, but the Caps would get no closer than that, and the Chiefs added one more with five and a half minutes left in regulation. Evan May, back from a stint with the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips, allowed all eight goals and made 35 saves in his first appearance with Cowichan in a month.

The Caps closed out the weekend with a narrow defeat by the Eagles. Surrey scored the only goal of the first period, then went up 2-0 with a shorthanded goal at 6:29 of the second. Matteo Turrin got the Caps on the board with a powerplay marker 40 seconds later, and Brett Fudger made it 2-2 with a man advantage at the end of the second period. The Eagles went ahead again at 6:44 of the third and held on for the win. Bidewell made 26 saves as the Caps were outshot 29-28.

“They played really well in Surrey,” Passmore noted. “It wasn’t work ethic; it was turnovers that cost us the game.”

The Caps will play their last games of the regular season this weekend. They visit the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday then play host to the Nanaimo Clippers on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Kings are on the road for their last three: in Langley on Thursday, Chilliwack on Saturday, and Surrey on Sunday.