The Victoria Grizzlies had a chance to build their lead atop the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division on Saturday, playing the back half of a two-game set in Powell River.
Unfortunately the Kings were not willing to play along as they flipped the script from the day before, building an early lead and crusing to a 5-2 win, handing Victoria just their fourth regulation loss of the year.
On Friday, the Grizzlies (14-3-2-3, 33 points) stormed out to a three-goal lead in less than 10 minutes, and rode it to a 5-2 win over Powell River (15-8-1, 31 points) to pull two points ahead of the Kings for the Island Division lead.
Victoria played on Saturday without the services of leading scorer Cole Pickup who served the second game of his four-game suspension, as well as captain Cody Van Lierop who was injured in Friday’s win.
The hometown Kings wanted to avoid another flat start at home and were successful, opening the scoring less than three minutes in when Hunter Findlater spun and fired his third goal of the year.
Midway through the period, Tristan Mullin doubled the lead, depositing his 13th of the season on the powerplay, and just moments later; Powell River’s lead grew to three thanks to Cam Donaldson’s team-leading 16th goal of the season.
Grizzlies’ goaltender Matthew Galajda, who had allowed just two goals on 88 shots in his previous three games with two shutouts, was under siege in the first period much like the Kings’ Mitch Adamyk was a night earlier.
Powell River started Brian Wilson in goal on Saturday a day after he relieved Adamyk and turned aside 28 of 29 shots faced in Friday’s loss.
The score held until midway through the second period when Lucas Fraulin made it 4-0 for the Kings.
The BCHL’s second-leading offense continued to flex its muscle late in the middle period when Callum Volpe extended the Powell River lead to five. The tally was his third of the season, and the second powerplay goal of the night for the Kings.
The Grizzlies held a slight edge in shots after 20 minutes but were outshot 16-7 in the second as Powell River began to skate away from an undermanned Grizzlies squad who came in with just one regulation loss since October 9.
Tony Rehm took over in goal for Victoria in the third period for Matthew Galajda who allowed five goals on 26 shots through two periods.
Midway through the final frame, Marty Westhaver broke the shutout bid of Brian Wilson, firing his second goal of the season for the Grizzlies to bring the score to 5-1 and with two minutes left, blasted home his second of the night to bring the game to its 5-2 final.
An already undermanned Victoria lineup missing Pickup and Van Lierop was further depleted midgame as Lucas Clark was assessed a game misconduct in the second period and Drayson Pears was sent off in the third after being called for his third stick infraction of the game.
Powell River outshot the Grizzlies 41-27.
Tony Rehm was strong in his 20 minutes of action for Victoria, stopping all 15 shots he faced in the third period. Brian Wilson turned aside 25 of 27 shots in the Kings crease.
Special teams were a significant factor with Powell River going 2-8 on the powerplay while the Grizzlies were 0-3.
Marty Westhaver led Victoria in goals and points with two while three players recorded two points for Powell River who used five different goal scorers.
With the win, Powell River (16-8-1) pulls back even with the Grizzlies (14-4-2-3) for the Island Division lead with 33 points.
The Grizzlies return to Victoria for three games at the Q Centre on November 18-20 beginning with a Friday night tilt against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at 7:00pm.