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 a pivotal game three of their BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoff first round series on Tuesday night in Nanaimo.
Two first period goals, a timely marker to begin the third, and 15 saves in the final period by Matthew Galajda helped Victoria down the Clippers, 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead in the best-of-seven first round series.
Nanaimo cashed in on an early powerplay, opening the scoring just before the five-minute mark of the first period on Sean Buchanan’s first goal of the playoffs.
The home side was unable to maintain the early momentum, quickly sending the Grizzlies to the powerplay. Victoria’s regular season scoring leader Cole Pickup converted his first goal of the playoffs with the man advantage to quickly level the game at one.
Continuing a theme from the first two games of the series in Victoria, game three was hotly contested early on, resulting in eight total penalties called in the opening frame and five powerplay situations.
The Grizzlies made good on their second powerplay of the period, with Jamie Rome’s first goal of the playoffs just under twelve minutes in, pulling Victoria ahead, 2-1 after 20 minutes.
Special teams continued to play a critical role in the game in the second period. Nanaimo’s Lucas Finner tied the game at two just past the twelve-minute mark of the second, with the Clippers’ second powerplay marker, his first goal of the playoffs.
The game remained tied as the third period began, but it didn’t last long as Justin Michaelian found the back of the net just 30 seconds into the third to give the Grizzlies the upper hand again, at 3-2.
Galajda took over from there, making 15 third period saves in the Victoria net to protect the 3-2 victory.
Victoria had three goal scorers and six players record a single point while the Clippers’ Sean Buchanan led all point scorers with two (1 G, 1 A).
Matthew Galajda made 35 saves on 37 shots for the Grizzlies while Nanaimo’s Evan DeBrouwer stopped 33 of 36.
Victoria finished 2 for 2 on the powerplay while Nanaimo scored twice on six chances.
Game four of the series goes Wednesday in Nanaimo at Frank Crane Arena. The Grizzlies will host game five on Friday, March 10 at 7:00pm at the Q Centre.