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Series Preview: Capitals vs. Grizzlies

The Victoria Grizzlies and Cowichan Valley Capitals start their second round series off Friday at Bear Mountain Arena.


Through the season the two teams went head to head 12 times, leaving the Grizzlies up two wins after the dust settled. Overall the Grizzlies led the BCHL division with a 43-13-1-3 record, which put them ahead of their nearest division trailer – the Capitals – by 11 points.


Capitals  head coach Scott Robinson says that going into the semi-final round of the playoffs, they are counting on their depth to win games.


“We have four lines of guys that can score and get the puck to the net.”


Having played the Grizzlies all season long Robinson knows what his team has to do to make theirs a winning battle.


“We have a good all-round game. We’ve got to play smart and make good defensive decisions because of their high scoring,” he added. “We’re not trying for 6-5 games; we want them at 3-2.”


Defence against the Grizzlies’ top scorers seems to be on Robinson’s mind.


“It starts with goaltending. We have a good back end, all the kids can play and we have intelligent forwards.”


The Grizzlies line up saw three players make the list of top 25 point getters in the BCHL during the regular season. Trever Hertz led the way finishing with 72 points placing eighth on the leaderboard while Justin Courtnall and Derek Lee followed close behind, closing the season with 63 and 59 points respectively.


The Capitals had their share of scorers during regular season as three of their top guns were ranked in the top 30 in league scoring. Chris Zaires ranked tenth overall with 65 points and Kevin Walrod trailed close behind with 62.


With some strong offence of their own, the Capitals are on a roll right now after sweeping the Nanaimo Clippers in their elimination series.


Coach Robinson would like to keep going with the success they had in that series.


“We want our power play to be as good as it was in the last series. We were getting pucks to the net and second chances.”


Of the 12 goals that Cowichan scored in their series against Nanaimo, seven were on the power play.


During the regular season the Capitals ranked seventh in special teams just one spot behind Victoria with a power play success rate of 19.5 per cent. But since playoffs began their power play has jumped to 24.1 per cent.


“We’re two teams that don’t like each other and know the other team can beat them on any given night. The season series was close and fans should be expecting a very good series. They should be expecting a war.”


Craig Didmon, assistant coach for the Victoria Grizzlies said, “We respect the Capitals and whatever type of style hockey that’s played. If there’s an emotional element to the game that’s needed to play and win then it’s just part of the game. They’re an obstacle in our way. I wouldn’t call it bad blood, just competitive hockey.”


 “We know how they play from watching them play against Nanaimo and the seven times we’ve played them since December,” Didmon says.


“Their power play had some success against Nanaimo, though they weren’t necessarily all good goals. We’re going to try and stay out of the box and shut them down when they are on the power play.”


Didmon adds the Grizzlies won’t be changing their game to play the Capitals.


“We have good team speed backed with good character. We’re well rounded from the goalies out and have seven defensemen that we feel confident in,” he said. “We’ll roll our lines. We have confidence in all our players.”


“We’re concentrating on good habits each shift.”


Didmon insists that the Grizzlies’ will put the pressure on Cowichan Valley to adapt their game, not the other around.


 “It’s going to be two good teams in the second round. It will be exciting and physical,” he added.