Grizzlies Woes Continue at Hands of Vipers

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Story and Photos by Christian J. Stewart (ISN)

October 4, 2015, Victoria, BC (ISN) – The Vernon Vipers scored three third-period goals to break open a 1-1 tie and go on to a 4-1 win over the Victoria Grizzlies in BC Hockey League (BCHL) action Sunday afternoon in front of 923 fans at The Q Centre in Victoria.

Victoria’s Tyler Welsh looks for an option down the wing during Sunday’s action against Vernon (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The win was the Grizzlies seventh loss in eight tries so far this year, their only points coming by way of a 2-1 OT win against Prince George at the BCHL Showcase and a 5-4 OT loss to Coquitlam in their home opener last Thursday.

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Vernon’s Brett Stapley (7) moves the puck out of harm’s way (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Things started well for the home team Sunday, as following a scoreless first period, the team’s leading goal scorer Nick Guiney put the Grizzlies up 1-0 at the 3:21 of the second period, taking a faceoff win from Brayden Gelsinger and sneaking it past Vernon goaltender Andrew Shortridge.

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Despite the best efforts of Victoria’s Corey Iapalucci, Vernon goaltender Andrw Shortridge saw 30 of the 31 shots the Grizzlies fired at him (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

That would be it for the Grizzlies offence however and as befits a team sporting the second lowest goals-for average in the league – they have scored two goals or less in seven of their eight outings – the Grizzlies could not catch a break or capitalize on any other chances that the Vipers let them have, with Shortridge stopping 30 of the 31 shots that the Grizzlies fired at him.

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Victoria’s Spencer Hunter (21) heads up ice (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Vipers, who also had trouble in the first period solving Grizzlies netminder Matthew Galajda, finally broke through at the 19:20 mark of the second, when it was the Vipers turn to win a faceoff, this time with Odeen Tufto winning the draw back to Mackenzie Ferner who buried the shot behind Galajda to tie the game 1-1.

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With an assist Sunday, his eighth assist of the year, Victoria’s Brayden Gelsinger remains the team’s leading scorer (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Vipers would extend the lead to 2-1 at the 8:16 mark of the third when Riley Brandt was sent in all alone and beat Galajda with a pretty move and they would make it 3-1 at the 16:52 mark, when the pinching Grizzlies gave up a three-on-one that was finished nicely by Liam Finlay who tapped in a pass from Tufto.

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Cole Pickup prepares to fire a shot at the net during the second period Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The Grizzlies had a late powerplay chance to try and get back into the game, but a short-handed empty net goal from Bo Pellah sealed the 4-1 Vipers win.

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Vernon goalie Andrw Shortridge makes one of his 30 saves, off a tip from Victoria’s Brayden Gelsinger (22) (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The loss drops the Grizzlies to 1-6-0-1 on the season and they sit last in the Island Division one point back of Alberni Valley. The Vipers improve to 4-5-0-1 on the year and they sit fourth in the Interior Division, a point back of West Kelowna and one up on Merritt.

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Victoria’s Tyler Welsh loads up a shot in the third period Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Next up, the Grizzlies will have a chance to play leapfrog with Alberni Valley, when the Bulldogs visit The Q Centre on Thursday Oct. 8 at 7:00 pm. They zip up to Cowichan on Friday night and then host a “Turkey Toss” on Saturday, Oct. 10 when the Surrey Eagles come to town.

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With the Grizzlies lone goal of the game, Nick Guiney takes over the team goal scoring lead with four (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Game Notes: With an assist on Guiney’s goal, Brayden Gelsinger remains the Grizzlies top point getter with one goal and eight assists. Guiney’s marker puts him in the goal scoring lead with four, one better than fellow Victorian, Cole Pickup. Kevin Massy sits second to Gelsinger in assists with five. After spending much of the first month on the road, the Grizzlies will now play five of their next six games at The Q Centre.

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Victoria forward Mitch Barker (26) looks for some options behind the Vipers net (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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