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Grizzlies knock Express off track

MARIO ANNICCHIARICO / TIMES COLONIST|
Photograph By DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

OCTOBER 20, 2017 10:34 PM

It may not have been a “look in the mirror” type performance as general manager and head coach Craig Didmon wanted to see, but the Victoria Grizzlies did manage to snap their four-game B.C. Hockey League losing skid on Friday night.

Dayne Finnson’s first goal of the season at 15:10 of the second period held up as the game-winner in a rather jumbled affair at The Q Centre as the Grizzlies pulled out a 2-1 victory over the visiting Coquitlam Express.

The hosts did manage to outshoot the opponent 31-28 and amazingly it was just the third time in 15 outings this season that Victoria managed to pull off that feat.

The hosts also managed to kill two 5-on-3 advantages in the game, including one in the last minute that led to a 6-on-3 advantage with the goalie pulled.

“I think we did work hard tonight. I didn’t agree with some of the calls that got us in a bit of trouble,” Didmon said after the win. “For us, having to kill those penalties late shows how hard it is to win in this league.

“They worked hard and got their two points and all of a sudden it’s three of the last four points,” Didmon added, referring to the overtime loss point the Grizzlies picked up on Wednesday.

On this night, Victoria came out with a purpose to start the game and Marty Westhaver jumped on a rebound to deposit it by Express goalie Reid Cooper on a Grizzlies’ power play midway through the opening period to stake the locals to a 1-0 lead.

The last five minutes were a nightmare, however, with enough turnovers to make Didmon’s head spin.

Coquitlam benefitted from the first 5-on-3 man advantage for 1:15 early in the second, but the Grizzlies kept them off the scoreboard. Cody Pederson did eventually tie it at 8:16 before Finnson replied after another long stretch of scrambled play by both sides.

“The last five of the [first] period we got away from it,” said Didmon, referring to defensive lapses.

The third period was much better for the Grizzlies who took the body at every turn, led by Ryan Nolan, who had Coquitlam’s heads on a swivel. More importantly, it’s something to build on as the Grizzlies travel to Port Alberni on Sunday afternoon to try to avenge Wednesday’s loss to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs

With the win, Victoria improves to 8-6-1-0, while the Express fall to 3-10-1-1.

Zack Rose earned the win in goal with 26 saves.

IN THE DEN: The Grizzlies honoured the Mantell family, long-time billets with the club. Colin Mantell recently lost his battle with cancer and his wife Deborah and children Jonathan and Alexis were on hand for the opening faceoff.

mannicchiarico@timescolonist.com

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