Late game five heroics keep Grizzlies alive

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The Victoria Grizzlies were looking to stay alive as they faced the Chilliwack Chiefs in game five of the Coastal Conference Final in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup playoffs on Friday night in Chilliwack.

The Grizzlies were five minutes away from elimination but scored twice in the late stages of the third to force overtime where Nathan Looysen delivered the game-winner, his second of the night, to force a game six.

Chilliwack now leads the best-of-seven series, 3-2, with game six set for Victoria on Saturday night.

Jordan Kawaguchi opened the scoring with his league-leading 12th goal of the playoffs, a powerplay marker, 7:53 into the first period giving Chilliwack the early lead. The Chiefs, with a chance to advance to the Fred Page Cup Finals with a win, came out energized and fired 14 shots at Victoria goaltender Tony Rehm in the opening 20 minutes.

Chilliwack added to their lead early in the second when Will Calverley netted his third goal of the playoffs 1:09 into the middle frame to put the visitors ahead, 2-0.

The Grizzlies pressed throughout the final two periods, outshooting Chilliwack, 24-11 in the second and third, but Chiefs goaltender Mark Sinclair remained unbeaten as time ticked down.

The pressure did ultimately pay off.

With 5:40 remaining in the third, Dayne Finnson provided hope for the Grizzlies, scoring his first goal of the playoffs to bring Victoria within a goal, down 2-1.

Then, with less than three minutes remaining, Looysen buried his second of the playoffs to tie the game at two, and give the Grizzlies new life as the game headed to overtime.

3:29 into overtime, Looysen fired the overtime winner, his second goal of the night and third of the playoffs, to give the Grizzlies the 3-2 overtime victory, keeping Victoria alive in the series.

Rehm, who made his first start of the playoffs in goal for the Grizzlies but was seeing action in his fourth game of the series, made 25 saves on 27 shots in the comeback victory.

Sinclair allowed three goals on 30 shots in goal for Chilliwack.

The Grizzlies were 0-1 on the powerplay while Chilliwack was 1-2.

Looysen led all skaters with two goals; while the Chiefs had two players, Olivier Arseneau (2 A) and Calverley (1 G, 1 A), record two points each.

Game six of the series will be played Saturday night in Victoria with a 7:00pm start at the Q Centre.

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