PORT ALBERNI, B.C. — At this rate the Alberni Valley Bulldogs are going to start dreading visits to Weyerhauser Arena involving the Victoria Grizzlies.
A third-period barrage helped the Grizzlies, now 31-10-3-4 (69 points) and leading the B.C. Hockey League’s Island Division by four points over the surging Powell River Kings, to a 6-2 victory in Port Alberni on Saturday night.
The Grizzlies are one of a half-dozen teams to have already locked in a BCHL playoff spot, while the the last place Bulldogs dropped to 15-23-6-2 (38 points), last in the Island Division . A year ago, the Grizzlies barely missed the BCHL playoffs after a slow start to the season.
On Wednesday, the Grizzlies also beat the Bulldogs on Port Alberni ice, 5-3.
The Grizzlies opened the scoring in the first period when Lucas Clark converted his team’s first shot on goal, beating Bulldogs starter Carson Schamerhorn. Alberni Valley knotted it up at 1-1 with two minutes to play in the opening period on a goal by Kyle Kaufmann.
Nathan Looysen’s unassisted goal put the Grizzlies ahead 2-1 with the lone goal of the second period. Cole Pickup, with his 25th of the season, extended the lead to 3-1 in the third before a disputed goal was credited to the Bulldogs and Trevor Cosgrove, restoring the one-goal deficit.
That’s when things blew open. In a five-minute span, Lucas Clark, with a short-handed marker, Dayne Finnson and Keyvan Mokhtari tallied to put the game out of reach.
The Grizzlies outshot the Bulldogs 36-34, as Tony Rehm won to improve to 8-4-0-0 and boost his save percentage to .936. The Grizzlies were 2-4 on the power play, while Alberni Valley was 1-3.
Up next for Victoria is a pivotal home game against the high-flying Penticton Vees at The Q Centre, a game slated for Saturday, Feb. 4. Penticton leads the Interior Division by a wide margin over Vernon and has also clinched a playoff berth.