The Victoria Grizzlies continue to put space between themselves and the Powell River Kings, who now sit seven points back in second place in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Island Division 33-26.
Friday night’s road win brought goaltender Kurtis Chapman’s two-game shutout streak to an end; however, he did carry it well into the second period. At 12:43 Coquitlam Express defenceman Juliano Santalucia scored from Cooper Connell. It was the first of the season for the 18-year-old Coquitlam native.
The goal ignited the Express, but it was a case of too little, too late, as the Grizzlies had built a four-goal cushion with markers from Henri Schreifels, Alexander Campbell and Riley Hughes with two. He scored his 11th and 12th of the season.
Hughes hails from Westwood, MA. The 18-year-old, in his first year with the Grizzlies, has scored 12 goals and picked up 13 assists for a total of 25 points in 24 games so far this season. The rookie sits third in team scoring and19th overall in the league.
With the Grizzlies up 4-1 after two periods of play, the Express attempted the comeback with Chase Danol and Joshua Wildauer scoring their 13th and 11th respectively this season. They got as close as 4-3.
Marty Westhaver picked up his seventh of the season at 14:43 of the third and 5:09 later; Ryan Nolan scored his ninth to put the game away, with just eight seconds remaining into the empty net, both goals were unassisted. Goaltender Clay Stevenson was pulled with 1:40 remaining. He took the loss in a strong 40-save effort.
The Grizzlies fired a whopping 45 shots at Stevenson. Chapman just needed to make 24 saves of 27 shots fired his was for the win.
The Grizzlies powerplay went 2/5 on the man advantage, while the Express failed to score on their three opportunities.
The Grizzlies continue on the road tonight with a game in Penticton and then to complete the three road games in three days they play Sunday in Vernon. The Grizzlies may want to send the league schedule maker a lump of coal next month as they play in Port Alberni on the 23rd of November, followed by a game at home the next night when they host the Nanaimo Clippers.