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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

October 17, 2014, Salmon Arm, BC (ISN) – Brett Gruber’s powerplay goal at 10:26 of the third period proved to be the game winner as the Victoria Grizzlies began a three-game road trip in fine fashion, defeating the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-2 Friday night at the Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm.

Victoria’s Cole Pickup (centre) drives hard to the net along with  Salmon Arm’s Phil Middleton during Friday’s 3-1 Grizzlies win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The game was a close checking and gritty affair throughout, as one might expect from two team with close to identical records, both with 4 wins and 3 losses.

The first period was tightly played with each team getting 7 shots apiece, but it would be the Silverbacks who came out of the period with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal at the 9:56 mark by Ross Heidt.

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Victoria’s Spencer Hunter (left) and Salmon Arm’s Shane Danyluk (right) look for the puck following a faceoff Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

In the second, both goalies, the Grizzlies Sean Cleary and the Silverbacks Angus Redmond stood tall, but the Grizzlies would find a chink in Redmond’s armour 11:19 in when Matt Kennedy jumped on a puck in the slot and put one in the top corner to tie the game 1-1.

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Grizzlies Captain Shawn MCBride would score the Grizzlies go-ahead goal early in the third period Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That score held to the break and early in the third period, Grizzlies Captain Shawn McBride would give Victoria the lead on a one-timer past Redmond just one minute in.

The teams would trade chances after that, but it would be Gruber who would put the Grizzlies up while on the powerplay with a shot from the top of the circles.

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Victoria’s Dane Gibson (16) looks for a way around Salmon Arm defender Damian Chrcek (8) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Silverbacks would continue to pressure and with their goalie pulled, Colton Thibault would score at 18:36 to pull the home team to within one and set up an exciting finish.

That would be all the scoring however, as Cleary and the Grizzlies would hold strong and preserve the 3-2 win, yet another exciting one goal game for the team.

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Victoria’s Matt Kennedy (19) would score the Grizzlies first goal Friday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Grizzlies Head Coach Brad Knight could not have asked for a better start to the road trip. “This was a textbook gritty win for us. I’m so happy to get it. I stressed to the boys prior to the game that this, the first of the roadie, was the most important one and asked them to give their all. They did, and I can’t be any happier at how they responded.”

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Grizzlies goaltender Sean Cleary got the start Friday and he stood tall, stopping 28 of 30 shots to get the win (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Grizzlies now head to Penticton for a Saturday night match with the 9-1 Penticton Vees. The Vees defeated Vernon Friday 3-1.

Game Notes: The Silverbacks outshot the Grizzlies 30-20. Cleary, with 28 saves, was the games first star. Garret Forster, with a pair of assists, drew third star honours.