Capping Things Off With Top 10 Moments of 2016-17

It’s been a few days since the Capitals’ season ended, with an overtime loss to the Powell River Kings in Game 4 of their first round series on Mar 8. Despite the loss, Cowichan left a good taste in the mouths of the fans with a strong effort and an entertaining game in front of the hometown crowd at the Island Savings Centre.

Now that the smoke has cleared, it’s a chance to recap some highlights from a solid season for this year’s Capitals.

10. Third Period Comeback on Opening Night

On Game 1 of the regular season, the Capitals would head into the third period down 1-0 to the visiting Powell River Kings. But in front of the 860 Cowichan fans, they would mount a comeback. Goals from Ben Verrall, Alec Zawatsky, and Jared Domin just 4:44 apart early in the third put the home team up by a pair. Max Newton would score later in the frame as well, before the Kings got a late goal back to make it a 4-2 final.

Impressively, the Caps’ four goals came on only six third-period shots. That would be one of two occasions during the season where the Capitals scored four goals in a period (Nov 5 vs. Vernon, third period).

9. Win in Powell River, Nov 25

Four weeks after losing 9-0 to the Kings in Duncan, the Capitals earned their first regular season win in Powell River in almost two years. The teams traded goals back and forth for most of the night. After the Caps and Kings were tied 2-2 after the first, Cowichan would outscore its division rival 2-1 in the second and third, on the way to a 6-4 win.

Ty Pochipinski scored the Caps’ fifth goal, the eventual game-winner, which was also the team’s first shorthanded goal of the campaign. The Kings would pound 16 shots on goal in the third period, but the Capitals held on. Chris Harpur sealed the deal with a short breakaway and an empty net with 20 seconds to go, skating to the blue paint before sliding home the team’s sixth goal of the night. Rhett Kingston scored a pair and Nick Wilson and Jared Domin also added goals. And goalie Adam Marcoux made 46 saves, as the Kings led 50-25 in shots.

8. Langley, BC Native Ayden MacDonald Game-Winner, First Star in Hometown at Rivermen

In the third game in two and a half days that saw stops in Prince George on the Friday night and Merritt on the Saturday, the Capitals clawed out a 5-3 win on Oct 2 at Langley. The Caps scored a season-high four powerplay goals on the afternoon, with the other goal coming on a penalty shot.

Ayden MacDonald, playing in his hometown, had the game-winning goal as well as an assist, and was the game’s first star on the afternoon. Chris Harpur, Max Newton (2) and Jared Domin also rippled the twine at the George Preston Rec Centre. Adam Marcoux turned in 39 saves in goal.

7. Trevor Ayre Scores Game-Winner in Hometown Surrey

The Capitals defied the odds on Dec 11 to earn a 2-1 road win against the Surrey Eagles. It was the Caps’ third game in two and a half days, having played in Trail on the Friday night and Penticton a night earlier. The team traveled from Penticton to Surrey on the Sunday morning during a snowstorm on the Coquihalla, and with a slow-go on the roads arrived at the rink just 1.5 hours before puck drop.

With the game tied 1-1 in the second, it was Surrey, BC native Trevor Ayre who would score the eventual game-winner. Ayre, who had family and friends in attendance, capped a memorable and determined shift in the offensive zone that lasted about a minute by converting a rebound on a point shot. Jared Domin also scored on the afternoon, and goalie Lane Michasiw was big, stopping 37 of 38 shots-against in the win.

6. Adam Marcoux’s 54 Saves in First BCHL Win

In the Capitals first of two games at the BCHL Showcase, it was their rookie netminder Adam Marcoux who stole the show with his first career win, a 3-2 Caps victory against the Surrey Eagles on Sep 22.

The Eagles fired 16 shots on goal in the first, 16 more in the second and 26 in the third, leading 56-26 in shots on the afternoon. But Marcoux was strong in the Caps net and his 54 saves sufficed, as he’d earn first star honors as well. Josh Owings, Rhett Kingston and Jared Domin all had goals for Cowichan. Domin’s goal was the game-winner, his third of the year in just the fifth game of the season. The win marked the first of two games in 2016-17 where Marcoux stopped 50-plus shots in a win (Nov 19 at Salmon Arm, 5-2 win, 55 saves).

5. Remembrance Day Win at Home vs. Nanaimo

Capitals vs. Nanaimo Clippers on Nov 11, 2017. (Mijen Multimedia)

On Veteran’s Appreciation Night, with a pregame ceremony that featured a bagpiper leading in the color guard, the Capitals turned in one of their most entertaining outputs at home all season, a 6-3 victory over the visiting Nanaimo Clippers.

The Capitals outscored their mid-Island rivals 2-1 in all three periods, in a game that featured 48 combined penalty minutes and a pair of third period fights that were 29 seconds apart. Michael Montambault and Ayden MacDonald each scored a pair of goals, and George Sennott and Sean Driscoll found the back of the net as well. The Caps’ six goals on the night was one of two times that they scored six in a game this season; the other would be a 6-4 win in Powell River two weeks later (Nov 25). That game included an empty-netter, making Nov 11 the only game where they beat an opposing netminder six times.

4. Harpur, Newton Net Overtime Winners on Back-to-Back Nights

Capitals vs. Langley Rivermen Oct 21, 2017 (Mijen Multimedia).

Two nights, two wins in double overtime. The first of those for the Capitals came on Oct 21 at Alberni Valley, a 5-4 victory. That night, the Bulldogs outshot the Capitals 9-0 in the first overtime, and among those saves for Lane Michasiw were a pair in the dying seconds to keep the game tied 4-4. After a breather, Chris Harpur buried the winner just 41 seconds into double OT. Alec Zawatsky scored two goals, while Ty Pochipinski and Justin Perron scored as well. Michasiw stopped a loud 48 shots, the third time he stopped 48-or-more shots in a game during the season.

The next night, playing at home with the Langley Rivermen in town, the Caps would again prevail in double OT, as this time it was Max Newton who was the hero in extra time. Jared Domin, Nick Wilson and Rhett Kingston also scored for Cowichan on the night. The win made the Capitals undefeated in four straight games (three wins, one tie), which would be their longest undefeated streak during the season.

3. Win in Powell River, Feb 4, Ending Losing Streak

The Capitals nine-game losing streak came to an end with a 5-3 win at the Hap Parker Arena on Feb 4. The visitors jumped out a 4-0 lead midway through the second period, as John Sladic scored a pair of goals while Mitch Skapski and Justin Perron also found the back of the net. The Kings would claw back, scoring one in the second and two early in the third, but the Caps held them off. Lane Michasiw stopped 46 shots in goal.

Max Newton, who “called” an end to the losing streak in our pre-game interview that night, promptly hit the empty Kings’ net with 24 seconds to go in the third, sealing the deal. An Atom “B” team from Cowichan, who had played in Powell River earlier, were all wearing their jerseys while sitting behind the Caps’ bench in the stands, chanting and cheering all game. After Newton hit the empty-net, which he shot from right in front of his own bench, the players on the ice and bench all gathered to celebrate, with the Atom B team drooped over the glass behind. To boot, the minor hockey team would count down the final seconds of regulation in the Caps’ win.

2. Haydn Hopkins Game-Tying Goal in Game 4 of Playoffs.

In more recent times, the Capitals didn’t go down easy in Game 4 of their first round series in Powell River, a game the Kings would eventually win 4-3 in overtime to win the series. Mitch Skapski and Max Newton had the home team up 2-0 with early second-period goals, giving the Capitals their first lead of the series. However the Kings struck back, with a goal in the second and two more in the first half of period three.

With 5:05 to play and the Capitals down a goal, Haydn Hopkins energized the fans on hand with a tap-in goal on the doorstep on a Michael Montambault rebound. Hopkins’ goal, the first of his BCHL playoff career in his fourth game, wound up being the team’s final tally of the 2016-17 season. With a lively crowd at the Island Savings Centre that was on the edge during an up-and-down Game 4, it was a moment that they deserved to have in these playoffs.

1. Newton’s 100th point, OT Winner Against Former Team in Trail

The Capitals began a weekend road trip with a game at Cominco Arena in Trail on Dec 9, a building familiar to Max Newton, who spent his first two BCHL seasons with the Trail Smoke Eaters. He was of course traded, along with Nii Noi Tetteh, from Trail to Cowichan ahead of the 2016-17 season.

There on Dec 9, a high-scoring opening period saw the Smoke Eaters with a 3-2 lead after 20 minutes. For the Caps, it was highlighted by Trevor Ayre scoring his first two goals as a member of the Capitals. But the Capitals would come back, beginning with a powerplay goal late in the second period from Newton, a goal that was his 100th career point in the BCHL. And the Caps’ leading scorer wasn’t done yet.

The game would remain tied 3-3 after regulation, before the visitors ended things quickly in overtime. In one end-to-end sequence, Caps’ netminder Adam Marcoux made a game-saving stop, sprawling to his right to make a huge pad save, before Chris Harpur sprung Newton up ice and the two advanced on a two-on-one, as Newton then wired a shot top-shelf over the glove of the Smoke Eaters’ goalie. It was perhaps the most entertaining single highlight from the Capitals’ season. On the night, Marcoux stopped 33 shots, including the final 20 he saw; his 33rd save enabled a special moment on the other end of the ice.

Thanks for reading.