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Goalie Rose sparkles in tie between Grizzlies, Clippers

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
NOVEMBER 24, 2017 10:49 PM

Zack Rose’s goals-against average going into Friday’s B.C. Hockey League game — 3.20 — was nothing to write home to Newfoundland about.

But that number is trending downward thanks to games like Friday night’s 2-2 double overtime tie with the red-hot Nanaimo Clippers at The Q Centre.

Rose, from Paradise, N.L., turned aside 30 of the 32 shots he faced helping the Grizzlies (13-9-3-1) remain one point back of the Clippers (13-9-4-1) and two back of the Island Division-leading Powell River Kings.

Rose, an 18-year-old rookie, went toe-to-toe with one of the best in the league in Clippers netminder, 20-year-old former Western Hockey League goalie Taz Burman. And if not for some bad luck by the Grizzlies’ forwards in overtime — three goalposts — the rookie would have knocked off the veteran. Burman made 48 saves.

“Zack has been great all year,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.

“He’s had one or two rough ones early on or that goals-against [average] would be lower. And he was good again tonight.”

Burman, who actually lowered his league-leading 2.02 GAA, joined the Clippers last month from the WHL and he likely had his busiest five-minute stretch in the three-on-three double OT on Friday. T.J. Freidmann, Jamie Rome and Ethan Nother all hit goalposts in the final three minutes.

Penalty trouble for the Grizzlies kept the game close for the first 40 minutes as Victoria killed off five Nanaimo power plays in the first 40 minutes.

And entering the third, it looked like Alex Newhook’s late first-period marker would stand up. But midway through the period both teams cranked it up.

David Silye broke Rose’s shutout bid at the nine minute mark, but 45 seconds later, Justin Michaelian restored the Grizzlies’ lead with the game’s only power-play marker. Just 40 seconds after that, Lucas Vanroboys struck again for Nanaimo, setting up a thrilling back-and-forth overtime that saw the Grizzlies pound Burman with nine shots in the five-minute three-on-three.

“We didn’t get much puck luck at the end, but we let them hang around and hang around and that usually comes back to haunt you,” Didmon said. “Those early penalties stunted our offence, no question.”

Rose’s recent hot play — he beat division-leading Powell River last Saturday — is also starting to turn heads at Hockey Canada. The 18-year-old, who came to Victoria via Lake Forest Academy near Chicago, was one of three Grizzlies named this week to the Team Canada West tryout camp for next month’s World Junior A Challenge.

“I think that selection was a good confidence boost for him,” added Didmon. “And you saw that with the way he played tonight.”

Nanaimo got at least a point for the 10th consecutive game.

The Grizzlies get today off before hosting Alberni Valley on Sunday. The Clippers play host to the Bulldogs tonight.

LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were again without injured defenceman Drayson Pears and winger Ryan Nolan, who was serving the third of a four-game suspension. . . . Following Sunday’s game, the Grizzlies are back home Tuesday, playing host to Powell River.


Grizzlies VS Bulldogs

Sunday, Nov.26 @ 2:00pm @ The Q Centre Arena

GET YOUR TICKETS: https://tickets.victoriagrizzlies.com


Grizzlies VS Kings

Tuesday, Nov.28 @ 7:00pm @ The Q Centre Arena

GET YOUR TICKETS: https://tickets.victoriagrizzlies.com