Even when the Cowichan Valley Capitals aren’t at their best, they’re still good enough to take four points from another busy B.C. Hockey League set of three weekend games.
The Coastal Conference leading Caps stumbled a bit at Cowichan Arena Friday night in a 3-1 loss to the last-place Alberni Valley Bulldogs and overcame some rough patches to beat the Langley Rivermen 8-5 at home Saturday and the Coquitlam Express 5-4 on the road Sunday afternoon.
It was the fourth consecutive week the Caps have played either three games in three nights or three in four. Taking that into account, the players have shown amazing resiliency in the wake of injuries, sickness and fatigue from the gruelling schedule.
“We struggled most of the weekend, to be honest with you,’’ said Caps’ associate coach Jim Ingram.
The Caps’ deep defensive corps was tested, with Darrin Robak heading home for Christmas early while he deals with concussion symptoms and David London missing action due to sickness.
There were some doubters when the Caps dealt Josh Monk for Sherbinin, but it’s proven to be a shrewd move by Ingram.
“We knew what he could bring, and his skating is very good,’’ said Ingram. “There’s still lots of his game he needs to work on to be ready for the college game.’’
Ladysmith’s Matt Grant also emerged with some of his stronger performances of the season, including power play time on the point and hard work up front.
“He wants to score, and that’s what his game is,’’ said Ingram.
The big story of the weekend was the scoring prowess of the Devon Gannon-Jacob Charles-Matt Brown line.
After Sherbinin scored the lone goal in the Alberni game, the trio really lit it up against Langley. Gannon racked up six points on three goals and three assists while Brown and Charles tallied four and three points, respectively.
“That was a career high for me,’’ said Gannon, the BCHL’s Player of the Week. “My linemates, they really made it easy.’’
The Caps made the Rivermen pay for some indiscretions with four power play goals. Gannon’s hat trick came from the power play, including two where he found the open spots and hammered the puck in with one-timers.
The Caps still made things tough on themselves when a 6-3 lead in the third period turned into 6-5 with 10 minutes to play. But they managed to ward off the Langley surge.
“We’re just struggling a little bit here staying focused,’’ said Gannon. “(Saturday) wasn’t our best, either.
“We’ve got lots of depth. That’s how we win games.’’
The Caps continued their status as road warriors, improving to 9-2-2 with the win at Coquitlam.
The Caps made a big comeback in the third period from a 3-2 deficit with three unanswered goals before Coquitlam shaved the margin to one with a goal in the last 11 seconds.
Brown and Gannon led the Caps again with three points apiece.
The Caps play their final two games of the season against the Grizzlies Wednesday at Cowichan Arena and Saturday in Victoria. Fans are asked to wear red in the rink Wednesday, and game-day tickets are $5.