A new-look Atlanta Capitals took the ice for the first time last weekend as the team traveled to Lafayette to take on the Louisiana Drillers. Just 14 skaters and three goaltenders made the trip for first-year coach John Bowkus. The host Drillers took all three games, but Bowkus had plenty to like after seeing his team in action for the first time.
“I liked our compete level,” said Bowkus. “Getting to see some of these players in real game situations. Liked the chemistry, but need to add a few more top end guys to help with our offense and help supplement our defense core.”
September 24: Drillers 6, Capitals 1
One of just two returners, Kirill Nikulichev tied the game 1-1 late in the first period. Nick Mumford and Dylan Zier assisted on the tally. Louisiana controlled the final 40 minutes with five goals, outshooting Atlanta 53-17. Caps goaltender Paul Jarvis stopped 47 of 53 shots. He gave up six goals, but the final one against was with just :06 remaining in the game.
September 25: Drillers 5, Capitals 1
Brendan Smith made his Capitals debut in net stopping 46 shots. Atlanta battled for much of the game and were rewarded in the third when 18-year old Ryan Eckliffe scored his first career NA3HL goal with an assist from Nikulichev.
September 26: Drillers 4, Capitals 1
Paul Jarvis made his second start finishing with 53 saves, 24 of those in the second period. 16-year old Harrison Flaacke scored his first Junior hockey goal.
Coach Bowkus was thrilled with the men between the pipes. “Really liked our goalies this weekend. Players got an opportunity to play valuable minutes and in key situations. We will be a better team by the time we play the Drillers again.”
The Capitals are idle next weekend before making their home debut on October 8 when the Texas RoadRunners come to the Atlanta IceForum.