Story and Photos by Glenn Ivens – (www.javalon.smugmug.com)
The Victoria Grizzlies found themselves in a goaltenders battle with Langley Rivermen on Sunday afternoon at Bear Mountain Arena with the Grizzlies coming out on top of a 2-0 decision.
Victoria’s Garrett Rockafellow turned aside all 34 shots he faced including a pair of spectacular saves in the last 5:00 of the 3rd period when the team was down 2 men. The Rivermen’s James Barr was equally spectacular in the final minute of the 2nd period when he held the door shut on the Grizzlies two man advantage.
The game was tight from start to finish with neither team finding a way to beat the goaltenders until 4:19 of the 3rd period when Wade Murphy pounced on a loose puck in the crease and with Barr down and out Murphy fired home his 12 goal of the season.
Langley pulled Barr with just over a minute to play but it was Victoria that took advantage when Cam Lawson danced around a defender and deposited the puck in the empty net for some insurance.
Rockafellow earned the games 1st star and had this to say about his performance, “Things just felt right, I haven’t had the best start to the season and I saw how hard the guys have been working and I wanted to step up and do my part, everything just clicked tonight.”
Coach Len Barrie felt the wrath of the officials when he argued a call that put the Grizzlies down 2 men. Referee Mike Campbell didn’t like what he had to say and assessed a 2 minute bench minor penalty and ejected Barrie from the game. “The guy steps on our stick and he’s going to put us down 5-3, sometimes you just have to stick up for your guys. The guys are working hard out there and to see some of the weak calls. They hold us accountable I think they need to be accountable as well.”
The Grizzlies who got off to a rocky start have turned things around and now sit tied with Surrey for 2nd place in the Coastal Conference, one point back of Powell River. Barrie attributes the turnaround to the goaltenders finding their games. “We weren’t getting it at the start of the season and now we are, we could have won 3 or 4 of the first 5 games if we got the goaltending. If they keep playing like tonight were going to be a tough team to beat.”
The Grizzlies are back in action on November 1 when they host the Nanaimo Clippers then head out on the road for three games before returning to Bear Mountain Arena for a game with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on November 9.