Grizzlies regular season comes to a rocky close

With the BCHL postseason coming, the Victoria Grizzlies were hoping to wrap up their season on a high. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as planned.

The Grizzlies closed out their season with back to back tilts against the Powell River Kings on Friday and Saturday. Both games took place in Powell River at Hap Parker Arena.

Grizzlies fall to the Kings

On Friday, things didn’t start so well when just 4:28 into the game, Kings forward Devin Leduc scored his 19th of the season to give Powell River the early lead. Then Andrew Amousse continued his hot streak when at the 11 minute mark of the first period, he put away his 13th of the season to tie the game 1-1.

The Kings followed up with three consecutive goals. Defenseman Jack Long and forwards Michael Abgrall and Leduc scored as Powell River took out the Grizz 5-2. Victoria’s back-up goalie Blake Wood was the story of the game making 49 saves on 54 shots despite the loss. Victoria also went two for three on the power play as they looked to continue their strong special teams display against Powell River 24 hours later.

Kings sweep the Grizzlies in home and home

The Grizz came into Saturday’s rematch hoping to get their vengeance against the Kings. Unfortunately, things didn’t look good right off the bat when Abgrall put home his 13th goal of the season to put the Kings up just 2:36 into the game. Just a few minutes later, Alex DiPaolo tied the game at one with his 14th goal of the season on the power play. Brady MacDonald and Henri Schreifels drew the assists. Kings forward Levi Glasman responded a short time later with his 22nd of the season to put Powell River up 2-1 after the first period.

After a scoreless second period, the final frame was dominated by the Kings. Ethan Schmunk scored his 13th goal of the season to give Powell River some insurance. Kings defenseman Jack Long extended the lead to 4-1 with his 6th goal of the season with Leduc drawing his second assist of the game. Rowan Miller added another with 27 seconds remaining in the game to extend the lead to 5-1 for Powell River. The Kings outshot the Grizz 41-27 with goaltender Liam Soulière making 36 saves for Victoria.

With a disappointing end to the regular season, Victoria will have a clean slate as they will kick off their playoff schedule this Friday against Salmon Arm.

Looking ahead to the playoffs

With the regular season now in the rearview mirror, the Grizz look to pull off a first-round upset when they face the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in a best of seven playoff series later this week. The Silverbacks will host the first two playoff games Friday and Saturday at the Shaw Centre, whereas the Grizzlies will host games three and four at The Q Centre in Victoria on Monday and Tuesday. Below is the official playoff schedule for the best of seven showdown between the Silverbacks and Grizzlies:

Game 1: Friday, Feb. 28 – 7 p.m. – Shaw Centre in Salmon Arm
Game 2: Saturday, Feb. 29 – 7 p.m. – Shaw Centre
Game 3: Monday, Mar. 2 – 7 p.m. – The Q Centre in Victoria
Game 4: Tuesday, Mar. 3 – 7 p.m. – The Q Centre
Game 5: Thursday, Mar. 5 – 7 p.m. – Shaw Centre*
Game 6: Saturday, Mar. 7 – 7 p.m. – The Q Centre*
Game 7: Monday, Mar. 9 – 7 p.m. – Shaw Centre*

The regular-season series between the two clubs was a 1-1 tie as the Silverbacks came away with a 5-3 win on September 21. The Grizz got their revenge on January 25 when they came away with a 6-2 victory.

Forward Daniel Rybarik led Salmon Arm with 31 goals while 20-year-old defenseman Akito Hirose led the team with 51 points during the regular season. Henri Schreifels led Victoria with 24 goals while BCHL Rookie of the Year nominee Cody Monds led the club with 59 points.

Below is the BCHL Playoff bracket. All matchups are now set: