The Cowichan Valley Capitals returned from the first leg of their second playoff series against the Wenatchee with a split on the road.
The Caps drew first blood in the B.C. Hockey League Interior Division semifinal with a 3-2 win over the Wenatchee Wild at the Town Toyota Centre on Friday night, then lost 6-3 on Saturday.
The Caps were outshot over the two games 69-35, but Cowichan goalie Pierce Diamond continued his heroics from the first round to keep his team in the series.
The teams were tied 2-2 going into the third period of Friday’s contest, but Cowichan defenceman David Melaragni scored his fourth goal of the playoffs with 12:45 left in regulation, and it stood up as the winner.
Cruz Cote opened the scoring 29 seconds into the game with his first of the postseason, and Dan McIntyre, who had the series-winner against Penticton in the first round, scored in the second and earned an assist on Melaragni’s marker.
Diamond stopped 34 of 36 shots, while Wenatchee’s Austin Park made 14 saves in the loss.
The Caps failed to take advantage of their three powerplay opportunities, while the Wild scored once on four chances.
The Wild went up 2-0 in the first period on Saturday, but Brady Lynn and Cote replied for the Caps in the first half of the second frame. Three goals in less than four minutes late in the second put the Wild ahead 5-2. Paul Selleck scored on the powerplay to make it a two-goal game with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation, but the Wild added one more before time was up.
The Caps were outshot 33-18 on the night, but Diamond made 27 saves to keep his team alive. Wenatchee starter Cal Sandquist allowed two goals on six shots and was pulled after Lynn scored midway through the second period. Park earned the win with 11 saves on 12 shots in relief.
The Caps were an efficient 1-for-2 on the powerplay, while the Wild went 1-for-4 for the second night in a row.
The teams returned to action at the Cowichan Arena for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Game five will be back in Wenatchee on Friday. If further games are required, game six is set for Sunday in Cowichan, and game seven is scheduled for next Tuesday in Wenatchee.