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The red-hot Victoria Grizzlies (24-14-3-2) put space between themselves and the rest of the Island Division in the BCHL standings on Sunday when they defeated divisional rival Powell River Kings (21-13-4-4) by the score of 6-2.
The Grizzlies are now riding a six-game win streak as well as a 12-game undefeated streak that dates back to Dec. 6, when they lost to the Cowichan Capitals 5-3 in Duncan.
Sunday at The Q Centre, it was a veritable four-pointer, as entering the game the Grizzlies had a slim, one-point lead on the Kings and the Kings hold one game in-hand.
Leading the way for the Grizzlies was Justin Michaelian with a hat-trick.
At 11:07 of the first period, the smooth-skating Marty Westhaver opened the scoring with his ninth of the season, unassisted.
At 14:39 Michaelian scored the first of his three goals to put the Grizzlies up 2-0. It was his 19th of the season and was assisted by Shawn O’Malley and Jarin Sutton.
Michaelian, a 21-year-old Wixim, Michigan native scored again, this time unassisted, to end the first (17:22) period with the Grizzlies having a 3-0 lead. It would end up being the game-winning goal.
Alex Newhook scored his 19th at 2:39 of the second period; Ethan Nother and Jamie Rome assisted.
Michaelian completed his hat-trick at 19:23 of the second period from Rome and Carter Berger.
During the third, down 5-0, the Kings desperate for goals, managed to score two. Carter Turnbull got his 21st at 5:40 on the powerplay, and then Mitchell Williams scored his eighth at 9:07. Carter’s powerplay marker came while Lach Hadley was in the box for two minutes for slashing.
But the comeback ended there and Lucas Clark scored a backbreaker at 17:23 on the powerplay with Newhook and Nother assisting. Neal Samanski was in the box for five for getting a match penalty, five minute major.
Mitch Adamyk took the loss in goal for the Kings. He faced a total of 49 shots. Kurtis Chapman stopped 33 of 35 that came his way to earn the win. The 6’1” Airdrie, Alberta native is currently 7-1-1-1 this season with a goals-against average of 3.00 and a save percentage of .920.
The powerplays went 1/3 for the Kings and 2/6 for the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies hit the road next weekend with a game on Friday in Wenatchee. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 pm. It will be a three-game trip played over two-and-a-half days.
They return home for two on Friday, Jan. 26 and a matinee on Sunday, the 28th.