Grizzlies overpower Coquitlam for 20th win

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The Victoria Grizzlies took their road show to Coquitlam on Sunday to face off with the Express to conclude their three-game weekend.

The Grizzlies were in charge from the outset on Sunday, outshooting the Express sharply in each period. Nathan Looysen’s two goals and three points, along with Jake Stevens’ three points paced one of Victoria’s strongest offensive showings of the season, an 8-2 victory.

The Grizzlies (19-5-3-3, 44 points) came into Sunday with a win and an overtime loss in the first half of their four-game road trip, growing their lead in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division to three points over the Powell River Kings.

Coquitlam (6-22-1-2, 15 points) are enduring a difficult first half, sitting last in the BCHL overall standings while scoring the fewest goals in the league and allowing the most goals against.

A rash of injuries have hampered the Express this season including nine players missing Sunday’s game.

Blanketing pressure from the opening faceoff paid off for the Grizzlies midway through the first period when Nathan Looysen fired his 10th goal of the season past Coquitlam goaltender Lawson Fenton to open the scoring.

The Express were able to draw even late in the period on Hayden Knight’s fifth goal of the season, but Victoria reclaimed the lead on the next shift thanks to T.J. Friedmann’s seventh of the year, sending the Grizzlies to the first intermission with a 2-1 lead.

Victoria doubled their lead early in the second period on Nick Guiney’s sixth goal of the year. Moments later however, with Rome in the penalty box, Coquitlam made it 3-2 with a powerplay goal from Luca Leone, his tenth of the season.

The Grizzlies began to seize control of the game late in the second period with two quick goals from Cam Thompson, his seventh of the season, and then Jake Stevens with his fifth to build a 5-2 lead going to the third period.

Victoria left no doubt in the third period, scoring three times en route to the eventual final score of 8-2.

Keyvan Mokhtari’s scored his 12th goal of the year less than a minute into the period and was followed by Looysen’s second of the game and 11th of the season midway through the frame.

Finally, Jamie Rome found the back of the net for his eighth goal of the year to round out the scoring.

Victoria dominated territorially from the opening faceoff, outshooting the Express 45-20.

Coquitlam was 1-4 on the powerplay while the Grizzlies were 0-3.

Tony Rehm made his fifth start of the season in net for the Grizzlies and made 18 saves on 20 shots.

Goaltender Matthew Galajda is away from the team attending Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge.

Nathan Looysen led all skaters with two goals, and his three points tied for the game high with Jake Stevens (1G, 2A).

Seven players recorded multiple points for Victoria.

The win is the Grizzlies 20th of the season (20-5-3-3, 46 points) and increases their division lead to five points over Powell River who lost to Trail on Sunday.

The Grizzlies return to Island Division play on Wednesday at Frank Crane Arena in Nanaimo with a tilt against the rival Clippers.

Victoria begins a two-game home stand on Saturday, December 10 when they welcome the Mainland Division-leading Wenatchee Wild to the Q Centre for a 7:00pm puck drop.  Nanaimo visits Victoria the following day for a 2:00pm afternoon affair on Sunday, December 11.

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