The Victoria Grizzlies are sitting atop the Island Division of the British Columbia Hockey League, but are probably keeping a close eye on the Powell River Kings and hoping that they play just .500 hockey for a while.
The points difference between the two teams is down to just three, while the Kings have three games in-hand.
Their records are 13-7-0-1 and 12-6-0-0 respectively.
Friday, the Grizzlies kept the margin intact by taking out the Trail Smoke Eaters 5-2 at The Q Centre in Colwood.
The Grizzlies, up 3-2 with 9:50 remaining in the game, scored two empty netters at 19:04 and 19:53 respectively; it was otherwise a close affair.
Charlie Campbell got the game-winner on the powerplay at 10:10. Nico Somerville and Jordan Guiney assisted on the play. The 18-year-old left shooting Campbell, from Chateauguay, QC earned his fifth goal of the season on the play.
Michael Hodge was serving time in the sin-bin for slashing at 9:36.
It was Campbell’s second goal of the game. He also scored at 25 seconds of the third period to take the 2-1 lead. Trail’s Bryce Anderson tied the game at 6:30. Tyler Ghirardosi and Diarmad DiMurro assisted on the play.
Riley Hughes and Ryan Nolan scored their eighth of the season each into the empty net.
It was Hughes’ second goal of the game; he had opened the scoring with a powerplay marker at 10:02 of the second period from Alex Newhook and Alexander Campbell. Twenty-five seconds later Carter Jones had put the visitors on the scoreboard.
Kurtis Chapman earned the win for the Grizzlies with a 39-save performance. Marshall Tanner stopped 27 of 30 shots fired his way.
The Grizzlies went 2/2 on the man advantage and Trail failed to score on their five powerplay opportunities.
The Grizzlies next play on Sunday at 2:00 pm at The Q Centre against the visiting Nanaimo Clippers. Saturday the Kings will visit the Wenatchee Wild.