The Victoria Grizzlies began a four-game homestand at the Q Centre on Thursday with a matchup against the Nanaimo Clippers.
Backstopped by Tony Rehm’s 37 saves and led by multi-point outings from Timothy Friedmann and Justin Michaelian, the Grizzlies skated by Nanaimo by a final of 4-1.
The Grizzlies (Now 27-8-3-4, 61 points) move 10 point up on the Powell River Kings atop the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division. They also tie the Penticton Vees for second overall in the BCHL, three points behind the Wenatchee Wild.
Nanaimo (Now 15-22-5-1, 36 points) drop their second straight game, remaining fourth in the Island Division. The Clippers fall to 0-6 against Victoria this season.
The goaltenders stood tall in the opening period as the game went scoreless through a penalty-filled first frame. Victoria goalie Tony Rehm stopped all 13 first period shots fired his way while Austin Roden turned aside all seven pucks directed at the Nanaimo net.
The Grizzlies misfired with the man advantage in the first period, going 0-3 on the powerplay in the first 20 minutes. Nanaimo failed to score on their first chance.
Victoria opened the scoring early in the second period on an unassisted goal by Cole Pickup, his 22nd of the season and fourth in his past two games. The Grizzlies went ahead by two in the final minute of the period on the strength of Shawn O’Malley’s first goal in his first game with the team.
In the opening moments of the third period, Nanaimo got on the board and pulled within a goal on Ben Solin’s ninth goal of the season, but that life was short lived. Less than three minutes after Solin’s tally, the Grizzlies potted two goals in 35 seconds on strikes from Timothy Friedmann, his 12th, and Lucas Clark’s ninth.
The 4-1 lead would hold up as the Grizzlies won their second straight game.
The Clippers outshot Victoria, 38-28. Tony Rehm moved to 7-2 with 37 saves in his 11th start for the Grizzlies while Austin Roden made 24 saves in the loss for Nanaimo.
Nanaimo finished 1-5 on the powerplay while the Grizzlies were 0-4.
Timothy Friedmann (1 G, 1 A) and Justin Michaelian (2 A) led all skaters with two points apiece for Victoria.
The Grizzlies are back on Q Centre ice on Saturday and Sunday for a two-game set with the Powell River Kings. Game times are 7:00pm Saturday and 1:00pm on Sunday. The Cowichan Valley Capitals pay a visit to Victoria next Thursday, January 19.