Grizzlies clinch Division Title

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The Victoria Grizzlies officially clinched the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division regular season title on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies fell in overtime, 3-2 to the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday, but with the single point earned for the overtime loss, having clinched the BCHL’s Island Division. They will enter the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup Playoffs, which begin on March 3, as the top seed in the Island Division.

The Grizzlies (Now 36-11-4-4, 80 points) see their three-game winning streak come to an end but clinch the Island Division, owning a five-point lead over the Powell River Kings who have just two games remaining in the regular season.

West Kelowna (Now 27-26-2, 56 points) ties the Trail Smoke Eaters for third place in the Interior Division with one game in-hand on Trail.

The Warriors opened the scoring just over three minutes into the game when Chase Stevenson tallied his first goal of the game.  Midway through the period, Jon Russell extended struck for his ninth of the year, putting the home team up 2-0.

The Grizzlies had an answer in a high-flying opening period. Cole Pickup got Victoria on the board with his team-leading 26th goal of the season just shy of the 15-minute mark. Two minutes later, Lucas Clark’s 16th levelled the game at two after 20 minutes with the shots 17-11 in favour of the Grizzlies.

Both goaltenders, Tony Rehm for the Grizzlies and West Kelowna’s Gabriel Morency played starring roles for the rest of the evening as neither side was able to find the back of the net through the remainder of regulation as the game headed to overtime.

West Kelowna outshot the Grizzlies 9-2 in overtime and in the final minute, Chase Stevenson buried his second goal of the game and 10th of the season to give West Kelowna the 3-2 victory.

Rehm made 32 saves on 35 shots for Victoria while Morency was instrumental in the Warriors win, stopping 42 of 44 shots.

Stevenson led all point-getters with his two goals for West Kelowna.  Five skaters recorded a single point for the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies travel to Penticton to wrap up their weekend road swing with an afternoon tilt against the Interior Division champion Vees.. The Grizzlies return home for the final game of the regular season on Saturday, February 25 when the Nanaimo Clippers visit the Q Centre for the final time.

The first round of the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup Playoffs begins Friday, March 3. The Grizzlies will be the top seed in the Island Division and face off against the fourth seed, either the Nanaimo Clippers or Cowichan Valley Capitals in a best-of-seven series.

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