By: Dante De Caria | Photo: Alex Rawnsley
Victoria, BC – The Victoria Grizzlies (24-31-1) defeated the Powell River Kings (27-23-6) 4-2 on Sunday afternoon at The Q Centre.
The Grizzlies’ took a 3-0 lead with under five minutes to play in the second period. Brady MacDonald ripped a shot into the top corner from the high slot on a Victoria four-on-three power-play.
“It’s an unlucky goal, and I thought we did a good job killing that, but then Jack Long goes down, and it hits his leg and goes in,” said Powell River Kings assistant coach Brock Sawyer.
The Victoria Grizzlies’ taking a 2-0 lead early in the first period was also a huge difference, as they set the tempo despite being outshot 10-8 during the frame. Trevor Bishop hammered home his third of the season to open the scoring, and Cody Monds added his 22nd on a deflection in front.
“They’ve been playing well as of late, and they got the bounces today,” added Sawyer. “The first one was kinda a double screen, and (Thomas) Wardle couldn’t see. The second one was a tip shot where we didn’t get sticks and we didn’t block the shot. It’s tough to get the bounces when your flat and don’t compete.”
The Kings made it a 3-1 and 4-2 hockey game late in the third period, but were unable to complete the comeback, resulting in their third straight loss (0-1-2). Levi Glasman redirected a Brett Roloson centering pass into the net for his 20th goal this season, and Devin Leduc sniped a shot into the top right corner with his 18th, while also extending his goal-streak to three games.
“I like the push back, but it was too little too late,” mentioned Sawyer. “We were tired of being pushed around and giving up easy goals, and easy plays off the rush, as we were lazy on our back check today. In the third we had our backs up against the wall, and had to do something to make a difference, and had to throw everything at the net.”
Grizzlies’ goaltender Liam Souliere was the main difference in the game, as he stopped 19 of 21 in the third, and made 37-saves on 39-shots overall for his 9th victory this season, and eighth win over his last nine games.
“He’s a great goalie, but we didn’t show up for 60-minutes, and if you don’t show up until the last eight minutes of the second period to turn it on, the game is over,” said Sawyer. “We didn’t do a good enough job to take his eyes away, but when we did, we scored.”
Kings rookie netminder Thomas Wardle allowed four goals on 23-shots. The Kings drop their third straight game.
The Grizzlies improve to 8-2-1 over their last 11-games with the win. They will play the Trail Smoke Eaters in round one of the BCHL post-season.
Right now, the Kings are slated to play the Nanaimo Clippers in the first round, but that could change as the Clippers could mathematically catch the Cowichan Valley Capitals for first in the Island Division. The Kings could clinch third place in the Island Division with a victory, or another Alberni Valley Bulldogs loss.
The Powell River Kings are back in action this weekend, beginning a double-header against the Victoria Grizzlies on home ice Friday and Saturday. These will be the final two games of the regular season. After Saturday’s game, the Kings organization will give out their year end awards on the ice.