Contributed by Jesse Adamson for BCHL communications
Tonight – Cowichan Valley Capitals (2-16-2-0) at Nanaimo Clippers (9-9-1-1)
7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo.
The two teams met in the first weekend of the season on Sept. 9 when Nanaimo won convincingly 8-3. The Clippers gave up the first goal of the game five minutes in, then scored six straight to lead 6-1 after the first period and never looked back. Clippers forwards Tristan Crozier and Brad Belisle both had three-point nights and Jamie Collins was named first star of the game with a goal and an assist. Cowichan Valley outshot the Clippers 35-23 in the game but Nanaimo goalie Austin Roden did not let the Capitals back in the game.
The two teams met for the second time last Sunday in a much closer game, but the Clippers still managed to get by the Capitals 2-1. Crozier and Collins scored second-period goals to give Nanaimo the lead. Ty Pochipinski answered for Cowichan Valley in the third period but Clippers goalie Taz Burman shut the door the rest of the way, stopping 24 of 25 shots to get the win. Capitals goalie Adam Marcoux also put in a strong performance stopping 27 of 29 shots and being named the game’s second star.
Clippers forward Jake Harris comes into tonight riding a five-game point streak. He’s put up two goals and three assists over that span. Going back to the start of the season, Harris has points in 15 of the 16 games he’s played this year (7-10-17). Clippers forward Maxwell Crozier is also on a four-game point streak. He’s scored two goals and four assists in those four games. Nanaimo forward Tristan Crozier leads the team with 21 points in 20 games this season (tied for 15th in the BCHL), followed by Jamie Collins with 19 points.
Cowichan Valley centreman Ty Pochipinski looks to extend his three-game point streak tonight. He has four goals and one assist in those three games. Capitals forward Troy MacTavish leads his team with 14 points in 20 games, followed by Pochipinski with 13. Pochipinski also leads the team with 10 goals on the year, Ethan Scardina is second with seven.
What’s at Stake
Nanaimo looks to climb back over the .500 mark with a win tonight. The Clippers sit in third place in the Island Division and a win would put them one point behind the Victoria Grizzlies for second place in the division and would also put some distance between them and the fourth place Alberni Valley Bulldogs. The Clippers also look to extend their winning streak against the Capitals this season to three games.
Cowichan Valley is looking to turn their season around after a tough start. They are currently in last place in the Island Division and in the entire BCHL. They need to start stringing some wins together if they want to catch the teams in their division and a win tonight could give the team some confidence moving forward.
Cowichan Valley Capitals coach Brian Passmore on tonight’s matchup with Nanaimo:
“We want to focus on generating more pressure in the offensive zone and try to spend more time in the offensive zone. I think last game, the first 40 minutes of the game, we spent too much time chasing pucks around and not accomplishing much… I think we’re at our best when we’re keeping things simple, getting pucks in below the other team’s goal line and just trying to jam up the walls and clog the middle and then create turnovers and be opportunistic, get more pucks to the net and play the way we did in the third period (Sunday against Nanaimo).”
Passmore on facing the same team twice in the span of four days:
“It allows us to watch recent game tape to see where we’re having some mistakes that we could fix and they’re probably doing the same thing. It will probably be a better quality of a game tonight. They have a fast team, they move the puck well, so we want to make sure we’re taking away time and space and we’re not slow reacting to the puck.”
Passmore on turning his team’s season around:
“There’s days where you’ve got to pat them on the back and let them know that it’s all mental. Even NHL teams are going through this like the Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens and they’re battling through. We’re sticking together, that’s the key. We’re getting much better than we were at the start of the year. There’s no excuses but we’ve had a lot of injuries to key guys and that’s forced us to play with a lineup of 13 rookies. We have a young team that’s learning. We’ve had some issues internally that have been a little bit of a distraction, but our team has done a very good job of coming out every night and working extremely hard. Every team we’ve played against, I’ve heard from their coaching staff saying how hard they think we work and we’re a tough team to play. I think for sure our record is not an indication of our team.”
Nanaimo Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp on facing the Cowichan Valley Capitals:
“We need to play our own game. We’re starting to see some consistency in our systems and structure and approach. We’re hoping to see more of that over these next few games starting tonight. We’ve only had a couple days off in between (games against Cowichan). I think we learned a little bit more because we hadn’t played them in a long time. It was good for us to have played them on Sunday and get a bit of a feel for what their team looks like and that helps a little bit with our preparation today.”
Vandekamp on facing the last place team:
“Everybody woke up this morning 0-0. That’s all that matters to me. It’s a brand new day, so the past doesn’t matter records-wise, etc. I think they worked really hard against us the other night, they have good speed and tenacity in their game and their goalie played well.”