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Grizzlies hit the road looking to get offence on track

Mario Annicchiarico / Times Colonist
NOVEMBER 9, 2017 10:13 PM

Just 10 days into November, the Victoria Grizzlies are heading into a pivotal weekend, trying to stay ahead of one opponent in the B.C. Hockey League standings while also trying to catch another.

It should make for some desperate hockey for the club that is on a four-game losing streak, all at home. Two of the losses did come in overtime where the locals earned a valuable point, but the other two were shutouts at The Q Centre.

Victoria — 10-8-3-0 for 23 points, good for second place in the Island Division — heads to Port Alberni tonight, trying to remain up on the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (7-9-1-3 for 18 points), who have a game in hand.

The Grizzlies then return home for a Saturday game at 7 p.m. against the division-leading Powell River Kings (12-4-1-1 and 26 points), who have three games in hand on Victoria.

“Obviously, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. We haven’t been able to win at home here in the last four so we’re looking to turn things around,” said Grizzlies forward T.J. Friedmann. “I think a big win over Alberni and a huge one against Powell would help that, especially since we’re seeing Powell River three in a row.”

There is that factor as the Grizzlies will play twice at Hap Parker Arena next weekend.

“That’s a 12-point swing, so we need all 12 of those,” added Friedmann, who has five goals and nine assists in 21 games.

The good news is the Grizzlies have already won twice at Alberni Valley, while losing once to the Bulldogs at home, but in overtime. Victoria split the opening weekend in Powell River, losing 8-2 in the opener before bouncing back for a 2-1 overtime win in the second.

“We’re finding luck up there,” Friedmann said of Port Alberni. “It’s always different, winning on the road instead of winning at home. You see what different teams will bring. Obviously, we go in there knowing they’re going to be a good home team and then we come back here knowing we’re going to try to be a good home team.”

Asked to put his finger on the problem the Grizzlies have faced these last few weeks, Friedmann pinned it on consistency.

“We’ve been struggling at times offensively and defensively. Obviously, we had three goals against Trail, which was good, but coming in against Merritt, we ended up getting shut out 6-0 on a Friday night,” he said. “We just need to be more consistent.

“We’ll find a way through it. We’ve had a stint where it’s been hard to find wins, but we’ll fight through it,” he stressed.

NEXT HOME GAME – SAT.NOV.11 – Remembrance Day

The Grizzlies have only one home game this weekend – Remembrance Day – Sat. Nov.11, 7pm vs Island Division rival Powell River Kings. TICKETS: