FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – April 8, 2017
By Jonathan Hodgson
The Victoria Grizzlies were trying to force another game seven as they faced the Chilliwack Chiefs in game six of the Coastal Conference Final in the British Columbia Hockey League’s Fred Page Cup playoffs on Saturday night at the Q Centre in Victoria.
Coming off of a seven-game series victory over Powell River the in second round, the Grizzlies needed another win on Saturday to push the conference final to the limit following a dramatic comeback win in game five.
It was not to be on this night as the Grizzlies surrendered a goal in each period and were unable to produce enough offense of their own as their season came to an end with a 4-2 loss.
Chilliwack wins the best-of-seven series, 4-2, and advances to face the winner of the Penticton Vees and Vernon Vipers, who play game seven of their series on Monday.
The Grizzlies opened the scoring early on Marty Westhaver’s first goal of the playoffs at 2:24, but the lead was short lived. Tommy Lee scored the equalizer for Chilliwack just 26 seconds later, his second of the playoffs to tie the game at one less than three minutes in.
The Chiefs took the lead, 2-1, midway through the game on Jake Smith’s fourth goal of the playoffs at 8:21 of the second period.
For the second straight game, Victoria found themselves trailing entering the third period and facing elimination.
Just 1:38 into the third, the Chiefs stretched their lead to 3-1 on Smith’s second goal of the night, meaning that Victoria would need to erase a two-goal deficit for the second consecutive evening.
Another comeback was not in the cards on this night.
The Grizzlies did draw to within a goal late, when Cole Pickup netted his seventh goal of the playoffs with 47 seconds remaining, but that is as close as they would come.
Mark Sinclair made 23 saves on 25 shots and Linden Hora buried an empty net goal to secure the 4-2 victory.
Victoria goaltender Tony Rehm allowed three goals on 31 shots.
Chilliwack finished 0-3 on the powerplay while the Grizzlies were 0-2.
Jake Smith led all skaters with his two goals while Tommy Lee also recored two points (1 G, 1 A).
The Grizzlies season comes to an end with the loss while Chilliwack advances to the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup Finals. Victoria won the Island Division regular season title and defeated Nanaimo and Powell River in the first two rounds of the playoffs.