Grizzlies drop 3-2 battle as Kings win sixth consecutive


In a meeting of the top two teams in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division, the Victoria Grizzlies looked to maintain top spot overall in the BCHL as they travelled to Powell River’s Hap Parker Arena on Saturday evening.

The Grizzlies and Kings engaged in a contest fitting of two of the league’s top teams, with Powell River taking their sixth-consecutive victory with a 3-2 win in double-overtime.

The Grizzlies entered the game with 13 points (5-1-1-2-1), three points clear of Powell River (10 points, 5-4-0-0-1) with the Kings riding five-game winning streak.

The home side started strong, firing the first six shots of the game, as Grizzlies goaltender Matthew Galajda stood tall to keep the game scoreless early.

Just as the Grizzlies began to find their legs midway through the period, Lucas Clark took a tripping penalty and the Kings would take advantage.  With activity buzzing in the Grizzlies zone, Johan Steen would fire his second goal of the season on the Kings’ tenth shot on Galajda at 11:05 to open the scoring.

The goal was just the fourth power play goal Victoria has allowed this season.

Just 26 second later off the ensuing faceoff, Kyle Betts drove home his second goal of the season to give Powell River an early 2-0 advantage.

Penalties hampered the Grizzlies ability to find full stride in the first period. The Kings were one for three on the powerplay in the first stanza, and were able to sustain pressure in the Grizzlies zone, outshooting Victoria 15-8 while taking the two-goal lead to the intermission.

The second period opened with the Grizzlies shorthanded after Keyvan Mokhtari received a game misconduct in the final minute of the opening period but were able to kill off the man advantage.

Victoria opened the second period with much better energy and were rewarded. Cory Hatcher fired his four goal of the season past Powell River netminder Mitch Adamyk at 3:41 of the period cut the deficit in half.  The goal was also the fourth in as many games for the Grizzlies rookie.

The Grizzlies rebounded from a slow first period with a much stronger second, trading chances with the Kings throughout the period with both goaltenders unbeaten in the period after the early goal.

A boarding call against Powell River’s Andy Stevens put the Grizzlies on their second powerplay in the final two minutes of the middle frame, but they were unable to capitalize and the game went to the third period with the Grizzlies trailing 2-1.

Victoria began the third period much like the second, with multiple opportunities in the opening moments, but were unable to convert on an early powerplay opportunity as the Kings maintained their one-goal lead.

With 7:23 remaining in the third, the Grizzlies found the equalizer thanks to captain Cody Van Lierop’s second goal of the season, bringing the Grizzlies even and setting up a dramatic finish. Cole Pickup, who entered the game as the BCHL’s points leader recorded his 18th point of the season with an assist on the goal. (BCHL STATS)

An untimely penalty to the Grizzlies with 1:47 left in the third gave the home side an opportunity to try to find the late go-ahead goal on their fourth man advantage of the game but Galajda stood tall in the Victoria net in the final moments, sending the game to overtime tied at two.

Both goaltenders were key in sending the game into extra time with the shot clock reading 37-27 for Powell River through regulation.

The remaining seconds of the penalty were killed off at the start of overtime and five minutes of four-on-four overtime did not result in a winner so the game continued to three-on-three double-overtime.

Grizzlies’ Nathan Looysen took a penalty late in double overtime, creating a late opportunity for Powell River, and they took advantage.  With the four-on-three advantage, Cam Donaldson deposited his sixth goal of the season, giving the Kings the 3-2 double-overtime victory.

Final shots were 42-31 in favour of Powell River.  The Kings’ Cam Donaldson and Tristan Mullin led all skaters with two points apiece.

The win is Powell River’s sixth consecutive as they draw to within two points of the Grizzlies for the lead in the Island Division.

The Grizzlies pick up one point with the overtime loss and continue to lead the division with 14 points.

The next game for the Grizzlies is at home on Friday, October 7 with a 7:00pm puckdrop at the Q Centre against the Cowichan Valley Capitals. The game is the first of three straight home games for the Grizzlies, with the Chilliwack Chiefs visiting the Q Centre on October 9, and Cowichan Valley returning on October 14.