The Victoria Grizzlies and Powell River Kings played the winner-take-all game seven of the Island Division Final in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup playoffs on Saturday night at the Q Centre in Victoria.
Goaltending played a starring role on both sides in a game completely fitting of a game seven stage. A 1-1 first period tie could not be broken by either side until the opening seconds of double overtime.
The Grizzlies win the series 4-3 and advance to the BCHL Coastal Conference Final.
The Grizzlies found themselves shorthanded early with Cole Pickup sent off for four minutes on a high sticking call three minutes into the game.
It took until the second half of the double minor but Powell River took advantage. 5:44 into the first, Curtis McCarrick wired his fourth goal of the playoffs past Victoria goaltender Matthew Galajda to give the Kings a 1-0 lead.
It looked like the lead was going to hold through the first period but with 41 seconds remaining, Jamie Rome tied it up with his seventh of the playoffs for the Grizzlies, with assists to Cole Pickup and Cody Van Lierop, sending the game to the first intermission all square.
The goaltenders stood tall in the middle frame as Galajda and Powell River’s Brian Wilson were unbeaten in an intense and evenly matched second period.
The stalemate remained deep into the third period with the Kings holding a slight edge in shots on goal in an increasingly calculated game that began to take on a next-goal-wins tone.
The Grizzlies applied furious pressure throughout the final five minutes of regulation, but several outstanding saves by Wilson enabled Powell River to weather the storm and push game seven into overtime.
Both goaltenders continued their stellar evenings, as numerous chances were stymied at each end but nobody was able to find the back of the net in the first overtime period, sending game seven to double overtime.
The second double overtime period of the series didn’t last long. 57 seconds in, Grizzlies forward Keyvan Mokhtari walked into the Powell River zone and snapped the game and series winning goal past Wilson. The goal was Mokhtari’s first of the playoffs.
Shots on goal were tied at 37. Powell River finished 1-2 on the powerplay while the Grizzlies were 0-2.
The game saw three different goal scorers and eight players pick up a single point.
Victoria moves on to play the Chilliwack Chiefs of the Mainland Division in the Coastal Conference Final of the BCHL Fred Page Cup Playoffs. Chilliwack is coming off of a sweep of the BCHL regular season champion Wenatchee Wild in the second round.
Game one of the Coastal Conference Final will be played on April 4 in Chilliwack.