VICTORIA — For the Victoria Grizzlies, it was all about responses as the second round of the BCHL playoffs opened against the Powell River Kings at the Q Centre in Colwood.
It took a whole lotta hockey to get there, but Jonny Evans’ dart down the right wing behind the defence gave the Kings a 3-2 victory and 1-0 series lead. The goal, Evans’ team-leading fifth of the playoffs, came with 3:16 elapsed in the second overtime period.
The Grizzlies will have to respond further in Game 2 on Saturday.
By the time it was over, it seemed ages earlier that the Grizzlies were forced to respond to one of the weakest goals you’ll see as all-star netminder Matthew Galajda allowed the game’s opening marker in the first period on a centre ice flare by Powell River defenceman Jack Long.
That response took some time — Lucas Clark’s power-play marker late in the second brought the Grizzlies to life, tying the game 1-1.
Another long shot from Long, this one through traffic stationed in front of Galajda, gave the visitors a 2-1 lead in the third — short-lived as one minute later, on the button, Jamie Rome knotted the game at 2-2.
Kyle Betts of Powell River had the game on his stick with two and a half minutes to play in the third period, but launched the puck over a wide-open cage. Minutes before that, Galajda made his best save of the night when he stuffed Betts on an in-tight two-on-one.
Powell River would have won the game if it was 60:01 in regulation length, as Cam Donaldson found the net a moment after the buzzer sounded.
Both teams fired 37 shots on net through three periods. Galajda and Powell River counterpart Brian Wilson were stellar in goal as scoring chances were plentiful. Galajda stopped 18 shots in the first overtime period while Wilson turned aside 11.
Game 2 is Saturday night at the Q Centre before the series shifts to Papertown for games Monday and Tuesday. Game 5 — a likelihood given how evenly-matched these teams are — would be Thursday in Victoria. Both teams won 37 games in the regular season.