February 24, 2019 Victoria, BC (ISN) – Grizzlies’ Cameron Thompson would score a hat-trick to lead his Victoria Grizzlies to a 7-4 drubbing of the fifth place Cowichan Valley Capitals in the final regular season game Sunday afternoon to finish atop the BCHL Island Division.
Sitting in fifth spot overall in the BCHL, the Grizzlies island division playoff opponent should be announced formally in the next couple days, but appears that Victoria, enjoying home ice advantage, will take on the fourth place Alberni Valley Bulldogs in first round which begins March 1st.
The Cowichan Valley Capitals would come into the Q-centre with perhaps something to prove as they would keep pace most of the afternoon in a game that would go back and forth as teams would account for a total of five goals in the first period alone.
The Grizzlies would find their way to the score board first on a shot by the game’s third star, Carter Berger, that would beat Capital’s netminder Jack Grant. The Capitals, finding their legs seven minutes in to the first period, would find a way to get pucks to the net, beating starting Victoria goalie Zachary Rose twice on shots by Luc Wilson and Niko Esposito-Selivanov to take a 2-1 lead. Victoria’s Cameron Thompson would score his first of three goals in the game, streaking down the right wing to beat Grant on a sharp wrister over the glove shoulder with just minutes remaining in the opening period to tie the score 2-2 going into the first intermission.
The Grizzlies, looking the faster skating team, would enjoy easy entry up the wings, but the Capitals would look to dominate the middle ice most of the second period. The Capitals, rewarded for their defensive effort, would score the only goal of the second period when a deflected shot by Cruz Cote in front of the Grizzlies’ goal crease would beat netminder Rose glove side, putting his team back ahead with a 3-2 lead after forty minutes of play.
Sitting atop the division standings, there could be only one reply from the Victoria Grizzlies in the third period. The Grizzlies, with some added offensive determination, would explode for five goals in final frame to effectively turn aside any hope of a victory for the Cowichan Capitals.
The Grizzlies’ Jake Veilleux, and Cameron Thompson, on a power play marker, would score three minutes apart in the final lead change of the game to go ahead 4-3. Afforded a power play after Victoria’s Marty Westhaver was assessed a goaltender Interference penalty, the Capitals would tie the game when Brady Lynn would solve the Grizzly netminder Rose.
That would prove the last time that the Capitals would find the back of the net as the Grizzlies, backstopped by Rose’s 25/29 shot stopping performance, would score three more times on goals by Henri Schreifels, Marty Westhaver, and an empty net goal by Cameron Thompson for the hattrick, to close out their regular season on a two-game win streak, outscoring their opponents by a margin of 17-10.
At the end of the game, team captain and the BCHL’s points leader in the regular season Alex Newhook, a scratch from the game, would receive his most valuable player team award from Langford Mayor Stu Young during the Grizzlies post game awards ceremony.
Shots on Goal : Victoria – 29
Cowichan – 29
Power Play : Cowichan Valley Capitals : 1/5
Victoria Grizzlies : 2/3
Three Stars of the Game. : 1st star – Cameron Thompson ( 3 g )
2nd star – Jeremie Bucheler ( 4 asst )
3rd star – Carter Berger ( 1 g, 2 asst )