A win on Sunday would give the Victoria Grizzlies a clean sweep of their three-game weekend home stand.
Trail Smoke Eaters goaltender Linden Marshall didn’t get the memo however, as he helped his team weather an early Grizzlies barrage, setting up a late game-winning goal for the visitors.
The Grizzlies (16-4-2-3, 37 points) began three games in as many days with a pair of wins over Alberni Valley and Powell River by identical 4-1 scores on Friday and Saturday.
Sunday afternoon, they had a chance to sweep the weekend and potentially extend their lead in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division, hosting a matinee contest against Trail (12-12-1, 25 points) who came in tied for second place in the Interior Division.
The Grizzlies struck first nine minutes in when Drayson Pears collected his second goal of the season from Keyvan Mokhtari and Nathan Looysen. Looysen enjoyed a strong weekend with a goal and four points in three games.
Trail only fired five shots on Victoria goaltender Matthew Galajda in the first period but found the back of the net on the powerplay thanks to Luke Santerno’s team-leading 20th of the season in the final minute to tie the game at one through 20 minutes.
Linden Marshall was outstanding in the second period, turning aside 17 shots to keep the game tied at one despite Victoria holding a decided edge in shots on goal.
Both netminders stood tall throughout most of a balanced third period before Trail’s Ross Armour fired home his eighth goal of the year to give the Smoke Eaters a 2-1 lead with five minutes to play, despite having been on their heels for most of the afternoon.
Victoria could not solve Marshall in the final moments, and Trail skated out of Victoria with the 2-1 victory.
The Grizzlies outshot Trail 33-22. They were 0-3 on the powerplay while the Smoke Eaters went 1-4.
Three different players scored in the game while Trail’s Braeden Tuck was the leading point man with two assists.
After the loss, Victoria (16-5-2-3, 37 points) fall back into a first place tie with Powell River in the Island Division after the Kings defeated Alberni Valley 5-4 in double overtime on Sunday.
The Grizzlies travel to Nanaimo on Friday to begin a home-and-home with the Clippers at 7:00pm at Frank Crane Arena. The return engagement goes at 7:00pm on Saturday, November 26 at the Q Centre in Victoria.