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The Victoria Grizzlies (23-16-4-2) went on a tear in December and January winning 10 of 11 games, with the only loss happening in overtime. They moved into first place in the Island Division ahead of the Powell River Kings (23-14-4-4) and Nanaimo Clippers (22-20-3-2). The streak clinched them a playoff berth. They have 12 games remaining in the 58-game regular season.
Friday, they hit the road and have played three games in three days and lost all of them.
The Grizzlies took the Wenatchee Wild into overtime on Friday. The Wild sit in third place in the Interior Division and have also clinched a playoff berth. They are the defending regular-season league champions, however, moved over from the Interior Division.
The Wild prevailed with a 6-5 win. AJ Vanderbeck scored at 3:45 of overtime, burying an unassisted marker. It was his 26th goal of the season.
Ryan Nolan opened the scoring with his fifth of the season from Alex Newhook at 4:50. Less than two minutes later, the Grizzlies got up 2-0 on a Matthew Doran goal; his eighth this year, Newhook assisted again, picking up his 36th helper. The goal came on the powerplay.
The Grizzlies went 2/4 on the man advantage, but they ran into penalty trouble and gave up four on nine Wild powerplays.
Jasper Weatherby picked up his 31st goal of the season at 9:35 of the first to get Wenatchee on the board.
Doran scored again at 4:31 of the second period, but the Wild took advantage of the powerplay at 7:02 with AJ Vanderbeck scoring his 23rd. Vanderbeck would end up with a hat-trick, before overtime. Make that four with the winner in OT.
Zach Rose stopped 45 of 51 shots fired his way for the Grizzlies, while Austin Park stopped 18 of the 23 that he faced.
Saturday, the Grizzlies visited the Langley Rivermen (20-13-10-2).
The teams exchanged goals in each of the three periods; however, Langley scored the final goal of the game at 10:46 of the third by Angus Crookshank with his 15th on the powerplay.
Justin Michaelian opened the scoring with his 22nd of the season at 6:13 of the first period, Dayne Finnson and T.J. Friedmann assisting. Cameron Thompson scored a pair for the Grizzlies to keep them in the game including a shorthanded marker at 14:33 of the second. He tied the score up in the third at 3:10, but Crookshank finished the game off at 10:46.
Again, the Grizzlies were outshot, this time 38-30.
The powerplays went 1/7 for the Grizzlies and 2/5 for the Rivermen.
Kurtis Chapman took the loss in net for the Grizzlies, while Brandon Fleming earned the win.
Sunday, the tired Grizzlies faced the Chilliwack Chiefs (21-18-2-3) and were doubled up 4-2.
There was no scoring during the first period and shots after one were 11-2 in favour of the Chiefs. Fatigue was catching up to the team.
Chilliwack scored three goals during the second period to take two-goal lead. The Chiefs scored the first two goals of the game, to gain control. Tommy Lee and Ryan Bowen scored at 6:25 and 11:53 respectively.
T.J. Friedmann got one back at 16:00 with his 14th of the season. It was an unassisted, shorthanded marker for the St. Louis, MO native.
He scored again at 43 seconds of the third period, to give the Grizzlies some hope for a comeback, but that ended at 6:46 when Lee scored his second of the game and 15th of the season.
Chapman again took the loss for the Grizzlies. He stopped 29 of 33 shots, while Mathieu Caron earned the win facing 18, but let in two.
The powerplays went 1/4 and 0/3 for the Grizzlies and Chiefs respectively.
The Grizzlies return home for a pair of games when they face visitors Nanaimo, then Penticton on the 26th and 28th of January. Sunday the 28th has a 2:00 pm scheduled puck drop.