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From the Victoria Grizzlies, With Photos by Kasey Eriksen (ISN)

October 19, 2012, Victoria, BC –  The Victoria Grizzlies ran their unbeaten streak to 3 games with a 4-3 victory over the Trail Smoke Eaters on Friday night at Bear Mountain Arena in Victoria.

On Friday night, Trail made Victoria work for it as the Grizzlies for the duration of this game would see another team effort extend their unbeaten run to 3 games. With this win, the Grizzlies cemented there lead in the Island Division and continue to Bear Mountain Arena a difficult place for BCHL teams to come in and take points.

Although, tonight wasn’t a vinatge Grizzlies performance, the boys still managed to capture the two points.

A special guest would drop the puck tonight and a nice gesture from the Grizzlies organization, as former Trail Smoke Eater and hall of famer Harry Smith did the honors tonight. Harry, was part of the senior Smokies team that won gold as the Canadian representatives at the world championships in Geneva in 1961. Harry, would follow that up with numerous appearances for Canada at the World Championship in the 50’s and 60’s.

Defenseman, Chris Albertini from Ontario would make his debut tonight.

1st Period – The Grizzlies would have the early pressure against the Smokies which would force Lyndon Stanwood in a number of good saves. In a penalty filled first period, neither team could make the man advantage count and against the run of play, the Grizz would get caught on a shift change as Trail led by Brent Baltus, would make in-roads into the Grizzlies zone and beat Michael Stilidias for a 1-0 Trial lead on the 15 minute mark.

The Grizzlies would make their shots on goal and pressure count, as David Muzarek would carry the puck over the blue line followed by Leo and Myles as the Trail defence found themselves a little flat footed, as Mazurek would unleash a nice shot to beat Stanwood. 1-1.

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Bryce Knapp and Braden Pears battle Grizz for puck (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

Shortly after Victoria leveled things up, Chris Albertini would certainly announce his arrival to the Grizzlies faithful and certainly to Smokies defender Braeden Jones. Albertini, hammered Trails, Knowler with a crunching hit, which had it been a second earlier could have been classed as a fair/clean hit, but, as Knowler had already released the puck, a charging call was fair enough against big Chris. Jones, would take exception to Albertini’s enthusiasm and dropped the gloves. Albertini ,would make short work of Jones as the 6’3” Ontario native would land 3 or 4 good haymakers to settle the issue and ignite the crowd .

The Grizzlies can feel a little aggrieved at the Smokies second goal as in the Grizzlies zone, Myles Fitzgerald(I think) was boarded and interfered with on the play, which the refs didn’t call, resulting in a Trail player bringing the puck out of the corner and that man Baltus scoring, to give Trail a 2-1 lead from the set up. 2-1 Smokies at the end of the first.

2nd Period – The Grizzlies equalized two minutes into the second period on a well worked PP goal would see Nolan DeJong thread a beauty of a pass to Gerry Fitzgerald, who was completed missed by the Trail defence giving him time to coolly slot it home. Leo would also pick up an assist on the play.

Midway through the period, after Trial had really come more into the game, a Lyndon Stanwood error would see him give wrap the puck directly to Gerry Fitzgerald, who would make no mistake in thundering the puck right back into the Trial net for a 3-2 Grizzlies lead. It was a tough one for Stanwood, who had played well so far in the game.

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The Grizzlies celebrate one of their goals Friday evening (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

However, one minute later on a Trial breakaway, the Smokies would breach the Grizzlies defence as Berkholtz and Adduono would set up Sandler to score to really make a game of it at 3-3.

3rd Period – Would lose a bit of intensity, but it would be enough as the Grizzlies would hold firm with Zach Urban giving the Grizzlies the two points, with that cannon of a shot he possess which found the corner of the net, giving Stanwood no chance on the PP, on the two minutes from the end. 4 – 3 Grizzlies is the final.

Game Thoughts Victoria – Another team effort and again the Fitzgerald’s providing the bulk of the Grizzlies ammunition. David Mazurek would also get in the act with a goal and a assist from a great all around effort from him tonight. The Grizzlies weren’t stellar tonight,but, sometimes you need a couple of greasy wins every now and then.

Chris Albertini, after being in town for the last few weeks, did not disappoint on his debut. A good positional player, passes the puck well and we all saw the tilt tonight. Albertini certainly adds more size and toughness to this roster and with players like Albertini, Mazurek, Lawson, Coachman and Zach Urban; no one is going to push this team around this season. Take note Mr. Vandekamp!!!

DeJong, was excellent again tonight and Zach Urban continues to show what he can do at both ends of the ice. Although a little quieter tonight, Jones, Meek and Thompson have shown the consistency to really help the cause.

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Somewhere in this pile up is Smoke Eaters goalie Lyndon Stanwood (Photo: Kasey Eriksen / Island Sports News)

The Powerplay is coming around for the Grizzlies, but, does seems a little lacklustre at time.

Game thoughts Trail – There’s nothing flashy about Trail and it looks like a team who scores by committee. Bill Birks squad, should be proud of their performance who caught an inform Grizzlies team on a roll, but, the Smokies turned in a good display over three periods. With a core group of veterans like Baltus, Stanwood and McMullan along with some good young players like Shane Poulsen and Marley Keca , Trail might not be a contender for the Interior crown, but, they are no push overs.

Attendance – 1445 Powerplay – Victoria 2 for 3 and Trail 0 for 3

Three stars of the game – * Gerry Fitzgerald ** Nolan DeJong *** Brent Baltus(well deserved)