© Copyright – 2019 – Victoria Sports News
The Victoria Grizzlies started off 2019 on the right foot, taking out the Langley Rivermen 6-4 at home in The Q Centre.
Five different goal scorers tallied for the Grizzlies and five goals came from defencemen. Carter Berger notched two, while Alex Newhook, Marty Westhaver with a short-handed goal, Nico Somerville and Jarin Sutton each scored.
Defender Sutton scored the game-winner at 17:00 of the second period from Ryan Nolan and Charlie Campbell. It was his very first goal in the league – a good start.
Langley opened the scoring with Tanner Versluis getting his seventh of the season at 4:17 of the first period. Mark Gallant and Alex Capstick assisted on the play. At 10:01, Berger would get that one back for the Grizzlies, to tie the game at 1-1. Jeremie Bucheler and Riley Hughes assisted on the play.
Langley would come back hard with three of the next four goals scored during the final stanza. Versluis would complete the hat-trick with goals at 1:14 and 10:27, the latter on the powerplay. Somerville would score to retain the lead at 19:30, unassisted, and Garrett Daly would get a shorthanded marker at 19:53. For Somerville and Daly, it was their fourth goals of the season respectively.
Versluis is a North Vancouver native. At 6’2” and 190 pounds, the 19-year-old is a formidable force, but the hat-trick makes up one-third of his season total so far this year in 38 games played. Last year he scored just six goals in 47 games.
Berger scored his second goal at 8:36 of the second period, which started a 4-0 second-period run for the Grizzlies.
Berger is a fellow North Vancouver native to Versluis. Also 19, the two are well acquainted with each other as both grew up playing in the North Shore Winter Club.
The Rivermen outshot the Grizzlies by a 32-26 margin although they had five powerplay opportunities to Victoria’s two. Both teams scored once shorthanded and once on the man-advantage.
The Island Division-leading Grizzlies next play Sunday at 2:00 pm at The Q Centre against the league-leading Prince George Spruce Kings.