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 four of their BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoff first round series on Wednesday night in Nanaimo.
Regular season leading scorer Cole Pickup came up with his biggest game in the series so far with three points, including two key third period goals to lift the Grizzlies over Nanaimo by a 4-3 final.
With the win, the Grizzlies now hold a 3-1 stranglehold on the best-of-seven series.
The Grizzlies were close to open the scoring, seizing a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game on Lucas Clark’s first goal of the playoffs.
Nanaimo however, had a quick answer thanks to Sean Buchanan’s second goal of the series, and second in as many games, knotting the game at one, less than six minutes in.
The Grizzlies reclaimed the lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the opening period when Jamie Rome converted his second goal in as many games, and second of the series overall, to give Victoria a 2-1 advantage going into the first intermission.
The middle frame was a different story however, as Nanaimo put on a strong push resulting in a pair of goals.
Josh Blanchard tied the game at two with his first of the playoffs, six minutes into the second period. The Clippers would pull ahead in the final five minutes of the period on Adam Pilotte’s first of the playoffs, giving the home team a 3-2 lead with 20 minutes remaining.
If the second period belonged to Nanaimo, the third belonged to Cole Pickup and the Grizzlies.
Less than 90 seconds into the third period, Victoria clawed even with Pickup’s first goal of the game, a powerplay marker giving him goals in consecutive games.
The Grizzlies finished the game 1-4 on the powerplay while holding Nanaimo scoreless in five chances.
Pickup was back at it midway through the period, firing home his second goal of the period and third of the series on a feed from Rome to put Victoria ahead once again, 4-3.
Goaltender Matthew Galajda steered it the rest of the way for Victoria, making nine third period saves and 22 stops in the game for the 4-3 victory.
Pickup led all skaters with his two goals and three points, giving him a series-leading three goals and five points.
Evan DeBrouwer allowed four goals on 28 shots in the loss for Nanaimo.
The series now shifts back to Victoria for game five on Friday at 7:00pm at the Q Centre.