Four different players found the net and goaltender Trent Baslee enjoyed a strong performance in net as the Cowichan Valley Capitals midget rep hockey team ended the Oceanside Generals’ postseason run with a 4-2 victory in the Vancouver Island Tier 2 semifinals at Oceanside Place in Parksville Sunday, Feb. 18.
The Capitals moved on to a best-of-3 finals series against top-seeded Peninsula beginning this weekend, with the winner to advance to the B.C. Tier 2 midget championships in Quesnel March 18-22.
“That’s a good team over there,” Generals assistant coach Troy Newans said with a nod toward the Cowichan Valley change room. “They’ve got some skilled players and they’re goaltender was solid. He made some big saves there in the last 45 seconds of the game.”
Oceanside, which won the Tier 2 North Island round-robin to earn the home contest, never led in the game against the No. 2 qualifier from the South division. But Jimmy Schworan converted a point-blank rebound of Adam Bougie’s point shot with 4:06 to play in regulation, and the Generals pulled goalie Tyler Blaine to mount a 6-on-4 attack in the final minute after the Caps were whistled for a penalty.
“We could have used another minute or two there,” Newans said after Oceanside generated several solid scoring chances against Baslee and the Capitals. “The boys were coming hard. They threw the whole kitchen sink at them.”
Cowichan Valley, which played the regular season in the upper Tier I division before dropping down to Tier 2 for the playoffs, took command early, riding goals from Brady Williams and David Eastman to a 2-0 lead in the first period.
“It’s always a plus to get into that Tier I division at the beginning of the year, because you’re playing at a little higher pace, a little faster, and it helps come playoff time,” said Keith Mazurenko, Cowichan Valley’s head coach. “The (Generals) are a good, solid team, and we’re happy the way our guys played and came up with the win.”
Steven Callawaert answered for Oceanside with an unassisted goal following a turnover in the Capitals’ zone with 1:38 remaining in the first, but Cowichan came right back with second-period goals by Shane Whitefield and James Joyce to push ahead 4-1.
The Generals played in the Tier 2 division in the regular season and finished third, behind Comox Valley and Campbell River. But Oceanside toppled both clubs in the three team Tier 2 North round-robin playoffs to earn the top seed, and seemed to be peaking at the right time.
“They worked hard and in the last few playoff games they came together as a team,” Newans said of the Generals. “I thought the boys played a hard-fought battle today; they did everything they could.”
The Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association had not released the finals series schedule as of Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 20. For info, visit www.viaha.org/island/midget/index.php.