Fur flies in Grizzlies win over Nanaimo

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The Victoria Grizzlies got back into the win column on Sunday, skating past Nanaimo in the annual Teddy Bear Toss game at the Q Centre

Jamie Rome scored the teddy bear goal and led all skaters with two goals and three points, pacing Victoria to a 5-2 win over the rival Clippers.

The Grizzlies (Now 22-6-3-3, 50 points) had a six-game point streak snapped in a 3-1 loss on home ice to the Wenatchee Wild on Saturday night, but still entered Sunday with a five point cushion on the Powell River Kings for first place in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division.

Nanaimo (Now 13-16-5-1, 32 points) came into the day in fourth place in the Island Division, going 0-3 in head-to-head matchups with the Grizzlies this season.

The visiting Clippers played a strong first period, outshooting Victoria 12-7 in the opening 20 minutes.

Nanaimo opened the scoring 11:29 in on Tristan Crozier’s ninth goal of the season, but the lead was short lived as Jamie Rome responded for the Grizzlies just over two minutes later, converting on a feed from Jake Stevens, sending the game to the intermission tied at one.

The Grizzlies first goal of the game set off a shower of teddy bears at the Q Centre for the Grizzlies annual teddy bear toss with all teddy bears being donated to charity.

The Clippers regained a 2-1 lead when Sean Buchanan fired his second goal of the season, a powerplay marker 42 seconds into the second period.

Once again the Grizzlies, and Jamie Rome, had an answer as Rome potted his second goal of the game and 11th of the year, shorthanded, knotting the game at two with five minutes gone in the middle frame.

Both goaltenders, Tony Rehm for Victoria and Evan DeBrouwer for the Clippers, kept the game deadlocked until Nathan Looysen beat DeBrouwer for his 12th goal of the year with less than two minutes remaining in the second period, giving the Grizzlies a 3-2 heading to the third.

The Grizzlies applied pressure to begin the third period and Cam Thompson capitalized just before the five-minute mark of the period with his eighth goal of the season to give the home team a 4-2 advantage.

With a two-goal advantage, Victoria played a sound third period, limiting Clippers chances en route to the 5-2 win.  T.J. Friedmann added the empty netter, his ninth goal of the year in the final minute.

The Grizzlies were outshot by the Clippers 30-27 and went 0-4 on the powerplay.  Nanaimo was 1-6 with the man advantage.

The win gives Victoria a seven-point lead over Powell River for the Island Division lead as they improve to 4-0 on the year against Nanaimo.

The Grizzlies visit the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Friday, December 16 and then host the Prince George Spruce Kings in their final game before the Christmas break, Sunday, December 18. Puck drop against the Spruce Kings is 2:00pm at the Q Centre in Victoria.

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