Jonny Evans scored the series winner in overtime of game four against the Cowichan Valley Capitals, and did it again in game one in Victoria to give the Kings a 1-0 series lead.
A timid opening few minutes had both teams not taking any chances offensively, leading to a low shot total in the early going.
Perhaps it was fitting the opening goal was scored from centre ice. Jack Long, the only Kings player without a goal in the regular season, gained the red line on the right wing side and hammered a slap shot on goal.
The puck appeared to hit Matthew Galajda in the chest and then snuck under his blocker arm and into the goal for Long’s first goal of the season, and a 1-0 Kings lead 8:33 into the game.
The Grizzlies had a strong start to the second period, keeping the Kings in their own end for long periods of time. Brian Wilson was equal to every chance, steering all rebounds into the corners or into the netting.
It wasn’t until late in the period the Grizzlies were able to solve him. While on the power play, Lucas Clark got the puck at the left-wing circle and was able to fire a shot past a Kings defender and through the legs of Wilson with 2:20 left in the frame.
Long was at it again in the third period, this time from inside the attacking zone. He stopped a rolling puck at the right point before firing a wrist shot that got though all the bodies in front, restoring the Kings lead at 9:17.
Just a minute later the Grizzlies tied the game. A high shot from Clark handcuffed Wilson, and the rebound came to his blocker side. Jamie Rome was able to chop the puck over Wilson’s blocker to tie the game.
In the final few minutes of the third Kyle Betts had two glorious scoring chances. On the first he was robbed by the left pad of Glajada on a one timer from the slot.
With a little over two minutes left, a shot by Long at the blue line was booked, but Betts gathered the rebound. With Galajda down and out, Betts had the entire net to shoot out, but put the puck over the net and into the netting as the game would need overtime.
The Kings were rewarded with a power play at the ten-minute mark, but couldn’t solve Galajda and double overtime was necessary.
A little over three minutes into he second extra frame, Evans ended it Cam Donaldson chipped the puck up the right-wing boards, and Evans raced after it having a step on Cody Van Leirop. Evans came down the right side into the Grizzlies zone, toe dragging around the second Victoria defenceman before firing the puck past the blocker of Galajda to end the game.
Wilson finished with 48 saves to improve his save percentage to .938. The two teams face-off Saturday night at 7:00 in game two.