Victoria Grizzlies defeat offensive Wenatchee Wild; in position to win Island Division

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With five games remaining in the 2017-2018 British Columbia Hockey League season, the Victoria Grizzlies (29-27-4-3) are firmly entrenched in first place in the Island Division – but they haven’t won anything yet.

They have a three-point lead on the Powell River Kings and Nanaimo Clippers with 65, 62 and 62 points respectively. Powell River has six games remaining while Nanaimo has four.

The Grizzlies play a fast-skating and offensive game. They are the first team in the division to score 200 goals. In the league, only the Wenatchee Wild has scored more at 221. They play in the Interior Division.

The Grizzlies played the Wild on Sunday at The Q Centre. Wenatchee brought their shooting prowess, but despite taking 46 shots on goaltender Kurtis Chapman, and 17 during the second period alone, the Grizzlies would come out on top by the score of 4-3.

Wenatchee got off to a good start. They got a 2-0 lead during the first period. Lucas Sowder opened the scoring with his 18th goal of the season at 3:48. He was set up by Sam Hesler and Cooper Zech.

At 13:49 Jasper Weatherby scored his 35th from AJ Vanderbeck and Murphy Stratton assisting.

With Alex Newhook out for the remainder of the season, there are a few Grizzlies who will need to step up their game to cover the loss. Case in point, Jamie Rome who scored his 20th of the season at 8:12 of the second period. Cameron Thompson and Ethan Nother picked up assists on the play. It was the only goal of the second period.

The game appeared to be nearly out of reach when AJ Vanderbeck scored his 33rd of the season at 7:29 of the third. Murphy Stratton earned the only assist on the goal. But, the 3-1 lead can be the most dangerous in hockey.

Rome stepped up again at 16:00 of the third stealing the puck while killing a penalty and scoring his 21st to get the Grizzlies back in the game, down just 3-2.

At 19:23, Matthew Doran tied the game up with his ninth. Justin Michaelian and Dayne Finnson assisted.

The first overtime period solved nothing; however, at 2:02 of the second, Carter Berger got his ninth and the game winner. T.J. Friedman assisted.

The Wild powerplay was tamed at 0/1 while the Grizzlies scored once during their three opportunities.

The Grizzlies hit the road for three games in three nights. Friday, they visit Salmon Arm to play the Silverbacks. Saturday, they visit the West Kelowna Warriors. The two interior teams sit in sixth and fifth in the Interior Division, but have played around .500 hockey throughout the season. Sunday the Grizzlies visit the last–place Merritt Centennials.

 

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