Grizzlies stay perfect against Nanaimo

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The Victoria Grizzlies headed north to begin a regular season-ending home-and-home series with Nanaimo on Friday, in what could be a first round playoff preview.

In a game that had a little bit of everything, Dayne Finnson played hero scoring the game-winner with 13 seconds remaining in double-overtime, lifting the Grizzlies over Nanaimo by a 3-2 final.

The Grizzlies (Now 37-11-5-4, 83 points) get back in the win column, following back-to-back overtime losses.  With 83 points, the Grizzlies have wrapped up the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division and are fourth overall in the league standings.

Nanaimo (Now 22-28-6-1, 51 points) sit fourth in the Island Division, now two points behind the Cowichan Valley Capitals with one game remaining in the regular season.

The Grizzlies are now 7-0 in the season series against Nanaimo.

The Grizzlies came out strong, outshooting Nanaimo, 15-8 in the opening period and were able to build an early lead.

Nathan Looysen reached the 20-goal plateau to open the scoring for Victoria eight minutes in to the game.  Continued pressure resulted in Lucas Clark converting his 17th of the season with less than three minutes remaining in the period sending the Grizzlies to the intermission with a 2-0 lead.

The home team responded and played an inspired second period, as Nanaimo turned the tables, outshooting the Grizzlies 20-4. They were able to capitalize with two markers of their own to level the contest.

Lucas Finner got the Clippers on the board with just over seven minutes left in the second, firing his 10th goal of the season.  Shortly thereafter, with less than two minute remaining in the middle frame, Nanaimo tied the game at two on Season Buchanan’s sixth of the year.

Tony Rehm started in goal for Victoria and stopped 24 of 25 shots before being replaced in the latter stages of the second period by Matthew Galajda.

Galajda and Nanaimo netminder Evan DeBrouwer could not be beaten in an evenly played third period as the game went to overtime.

The game appeared headed for a draw, but Dayne Finnson solved DeBrouwer with 13 seconds remaining in double overtime to give the Grizzlies the 3-2 victory.

Galajda is credited with the victory making 15 saves on 16 shots.  DeBrouwer allowed three goals on 32 shots in the loss.

The Grizzlies and Clippers wrap up the 2016-17 regular season on Saturday night at the Q Centre in Victoria. Puck drop is 7:00pm.

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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