A five-goal third period paced Cowichan Valley to an 8-1 victory in the Smokies' season-opener Saturday at the Save-On Foods BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
The Capitals opened the scoring on an early first-period power-play, as Keyler Bruce deflected a point shot over the pad of Trail starter Lyndon Stanwood.
The game remained tight through the second 20 minutes as well, despite the Caps taking a 3-0 lead inside the first 8 minutes of the middle frame on tallies by Eli Jarvis and Jarrett Brown. Trail got on the board midway through period two on a nifty centring feed from Brent Baltus to Garrett McMullen.
Period three, though, got away from the Smokies. Four of Cowichan's five goals were on special teams, the lone even-strength marker being Jamie Waddington's tap-in off the end glass that chased Stanwood in favour of Braden Krogfoss.
The Smokies were guilty of several frustration penalties in the latter half of the third period, including a checking-to-the-head major incurred by Braeden Jones that sent Trail's rookie defenseman to the dressing room early. Cowichan Valley finished the evening 4/8 on the power-play.
It definitely wasn't the start that the Smokies were hoping for, but this group will have an opportunity to salvage the weekend tomorrow afternoon against Merritt. The club learned quickly that mental lapses over the course of half, or an entire period, can be devastating: it's up to the players now to take that experience and carry it over through tomorrow, and on to the rest of the BCHL season.
My Three Stars:
1. Keyler Bruce, Cowichan Valley
2. Jarrett Brown, Cowichan Valley
3. Derek Dun, Cowichan Valley
Up Next: The Smokies go right back to work Sunday afternoon in another Showcase tilt against the Merritt Centennials. The Cents dropped their opener Saturday against Prince George, so we could well see two clubs desperately looking to avoid falling to 0-2 to start the year.