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Victoria Grizzlies Jr A Hockey Club:
GRIZZLIES MOVE TO 2-0 WITH NAIL-BITING WIN OVER LANGLEY
Sunday, September 21, 2014 - Submitted by Christian J. Stewart
September 21, 2014, Chilliwack, BC (ISN) - A goal from Captain Shawn McBride early in the third period turned out to be the winner as the Victoria Grizzlies skated to a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Langley Rivermen in Day 3 action at the BCHL Showcase at the Prospera Centre in Chilliwack.
The game was an intense and hard-hitting affair throughout and turned into a goaltending battle between the Grizzlies Michael Stiliadis and the Rivermen's Darren Martin.
Both goalies were called upon to make some tough saves throughout a tightly played first period that saw the Grizzlies outshoot the Rivermen 10-9, however it was the Rivermen's 9th shot by Evan Anderson that was the most painful, sneaking across the line at the buzzer and giving Langley a 1-0 lead into the break.
That goal gave the Rivermen a lift and they carried that momentum into the second, outplaying the Grizzlies over the first half of the period and building a 19-12 lead in shots, but were unable to beat the solid Stiliadis, who made some big saves to keep the deficit at one.
The Grizzlies continued to work hard and were finally able to beat Martin off of the rush at 16:05 with PJ Conlon notching his first goal of the season and first in the BCHL.
They would get another powerplay opportunity late in the frame but failed to convert and the teams went into the second break all even at 1-1.
The Grizzlies would catch a break early in the third when Cole Pickup would pick up a loose puck, make a nifty move around a defender to create a two-on-one with McBride and slip a nice pass to the Grizzlies Captain who made no mistake in burying the puck over Martin to give the Grizzlies the 2-1 lead just 1:54 in.
After that, the teams went toe-to-toe for the remaining 18 minutes, with both teams having great chances and both goalies continuing to play strong.
The Rivermen would pull Martin with just over a minute to play, but the Grizzlies and Stiliadis, the game's first star, would hold strong and preserve the 2-1 win.
Grizzlies Head Coach Brad Knight was pleased with the weekend's outcome. "I am really happy with our work ethic and the outcomes are always nice when you come out with a win, but that work ethic is what we've talked about and what we've focused on all through training camp, so for me, to see them carry that through over the course of the weekend an be rewarded with success, that was a big highlight."
Knight was also pleased with how his team handled the physical Rivermen. "It's always a question about if you get pushed are you going to push back? and you know what, our guys stepped up and handled that aspect of the game well."
For Stiliadis, the back to back wins were a great way to mark his return to the Grizzlies. "I feel good right now and I hope I can keep it going. We have a real deep team, and good defense and I am happy to be a part of this again."
The 2-0 Grizzlies are the only Island Division team to come out o the Showcase with a win. Cowichan, Alberni and Nanaimo all went 0-2, as did Powell River, but one of their losses was in OT, so they salvaged a single point.
The Grizzlies continue their season on the road this week with games Friday in Cowichan and Saturday in Nanaimo. They open at home on Friday October 3rd against Alberni Valley.
Game Notes: Stiliadis finished with 34 saves on 35 shots to get the win. Martin stopped 26 of 28 in the loss. Both teams were scoreless on the powerplay.