Grizzlies shut out Nanaimo in playoff opener

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The Victoria Grizzlies (Finished 37-12-5-4, 83 points, 1st in Island Division) and Nanaimo Clippers (Finished 23-28-6-1, 51 points, 4th in Island Division) played game one of their BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoff first round series on Friday night at the Q Centre in Victoria.

Goaltending ruled the evening. Shawn O’Malley was the only player to find the back of the net early in the second and then Matthew Galajda took over, making 24 saves for the shutout.

The Grizzlies now lead the best-of-seven first round series, 1-0.

Both teams played a spirited opening period, but neither side was able to find the net in the first 20 minutes. Both teams registered 11 shots on goal in the first.

The Grizzlies came out strong in the second and Shawn O’Malley opened the scoring four minutes into the middle frame to put the home team ahead. Justin Michaelian and Dayne Finnson drew assists on the goal.

In a game that featured tight checking throughout the final two periods, Victoria goaltender Matthew Galajda was locked in when called upon.  Galajda, who recorded four shutouts in the regular season, made 24 saves, guiding the Grizzlies to the 1-0 victory and his first playoff shutout.

The game had the feel of two rivals playing each other for the ninth time total this season with a combined 28 minutes in minor penalties plus a game misconduct.

Victoria was 0-6 on the powerplay while the Clippers were 0-3.

Nanaimo goaltender Evan DeBrouwer was strong, stopping 27 of 28 shots in the loss.

Game two of the series is set for 7:00pm on Saturday at the Q Centre before the series shifts to Nanaimo.

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