Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
March 4, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – Victoria Grizzlies defenceman Chris Harpur scored at the 2:19 mark of the first overtime period to give the Victoria Grizzlies a much needed 2-1 win over the Powell River Kings in Game 2 of their Island Division BCHL playoff series on Wednesday night at The Q Centre in Victoria.
Victoria defenceman Chris Harpur (5) watches as his shot beats Powell River goaltender Brett Magnus 2:19 into overtime to give the Grizzlies a 2-1 win over the Kings on Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The win was huge for the Grizzlies, who lost Game 1 badly, 7-2 and who, had they lost, were facing the daunting task of heading to Powell River down 2-0 in the series and then needing to win a pair of games over the weekend to bring the series back to Victoria next week.
Victoria’s Dane Gibson would just miss on this first period tip opportunity (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
While the three back-to-back games at Hap Parker Arena on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will still be tough, the Grizzlies now only need to win one of those games in order to force a Game 6 back in Victoria next Tuesday and hopefully a Game 7 on Wednesday. Of course the Grizzlies are hoping they will do better than that, but the Hap has not been kind to them all season, as they lost all four games they played there.
Powell River’s Tony DeVito (4) would eventually get called for tripping as he tries to prevent Victoria’s Mitch Barker (7) from scoring on this second period play (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“We need to have a good start up there on Friday,” said Grizzlies Head Coach Craig Didmon when asked what the team needed to do differently to win in Powell River. “We have to weather their storm in the first ten minutes of the game and if we can do that, I think we will do quite well there. We are comfortable with this team and while it is a hard place to play, I think we will be fine. We don’t have to change our game, we just need to go up there and play like we did tonight. We were the better team and we certainly got over last night pretty quickly. We want to look forward now and get a lead next game.”
Taking a page from Captain Shawn McBrides’ tongue wagging style, Victoria forward Kevin Massy heads to the net for a scoring chance Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
As to Harpur’s winning goal, he picked a perfect time to jump into the offensive fray, bolting into a wide open slot and getting a pretty tape-to-tape pass from Cole Pickup and then burying a perfect shot top corner on Powell River goaltender Brett Magnus to start the Grizzlies celebration.
Prior to his game-ending heroics, Victoria’s Chris Harpur makes a strong move through the neutral zone in second period action (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
“I just jumped into the slot, called for the pass and closed my eyes, shot and hoped for the best and it went in top right,” said Harpur of his heroics. “I don’t really remember it going in, I just remember the celebration. I don’t think I’ve ever scored a bigger goal than that and was so happy to do it here in such a big game.”
Victoria’s Meirs Moore (15) would whistle a shot just wide on this opportunity Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Harpur’s heroics would not have been possible without the heroics of Grizzlies goaltender Michael Stiliadis, who made a complete turn-around from his performance Tuesday, stopping all but one of the King’s 25 shots, with perhaps his biggest saves coming in the last few minutes of the game on a late Powell River power play opportunity and another in the last minute of the game on a point-blank opportunity by Powell River’s Brent Lashuk with less than a minute to play.
Victoria goaltender Michael Stiliadis (35) would deny Powell River’s Brett Lashuk (17) on this late game scoring opportunity (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Stiliadis’s counterpart, Magnus was also equally effective on Wednesday, stopping 30 shots total, including a number on a Grizzlies two-man power play opportunity mid-way through the second period.
Victoria’s Jake Emilio (4) would fail to score on this chance, thanks to some good back checking by Powell River’s Mitchell Hawes (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The only damage to both goalies came in the first period, when Powell River’s Jonny Evans opened the scoring at the 4:28 mark and the Grizzlies Ayden MacDonald replied for Victoria later in the frame to send the teams to the first intermission tied 1-1. After that, both Stiliadis and Magnus were perfect, a big reason the game went to the overtime period.
Powell River’s Stefan Hiff (9) would get shut-down on this third period scoring chance Wednesday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
So the series now effectively becomes a best-of-five affair with the King’s now holding home-ice advantage with the next three games at Hap Parker Arena in Powell River on Friday (7:15 pm), Saturday (7:15 pm) and Sunday (4:00 pm). Game 6 if needed goes back at The Q Centre on Tuesday (March 10) and Game 7 on Wednesday (March 11). Both of those will be 7:00 pm starts.
Powell River’s Jacob Pritchard (21) drives hard along the boards against the pressure of Grizzlies defenceman Zach Dixon (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Game Notes: Victoria’s Garrett Forster (upper body) took warm-ups Wednesday but did not play. He is expected to be back in the line-up Friday. Matt Kennedy was also not dressed. The Grizzlies were shut-out on the power play going 0 for 5. Powell River was 0 for 4. Victoria’s Kevin Massy was named the game’s first star, while King’s goaltender Magnus was second star. Victoria defenceman Zach Dixon was third star. After a disappointing crowd for Game 1, the announced attendance Wednesday was 614.