Grizzlies keep rolling through BCHL Island Division

Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
APRIL 17, 2021 10:07 PM

The American International College Yellow Jackets, who won the Atlantic conference champ-ionship and made the NCAA Division 1 tournament this year, have to be liking what they see in recruit Andrew Amousse.

The imposing Victoria Grizzlies forward scored the winning and insurance goals in the third period, the latter into an empty net, and added an assist as the Grizzlies defeated the Nanaimo Clippers 4-2 in B.C. Hockey League play Saturday afternoon in Port Alberni. Six-foot-three and 215-pound Amousse has five goals on the season.

“Andrew is quietly an exceptionally valuable player and very physical with his size,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.

Victoria forward Ellis Rickwood, with numerous NCAA Div. 1 programs after him, continued to enhance his stature for the 2021 NHL draft by scoring his league-leading 11th goal. Brady MacDonald scored the other Grizzlies goal while Nolan Hutcheson, with his fourth, and Luke Lavery replied for the Clippers.

Nanaimo returned to the ice after its scheduled game Thursday against the Alberni Valley Bulldogs was postponed due to positive preliminary tests among the team for COVID-19.

But those rapid tests were confirmed negative after follow-up using the gold-standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and the Clippers were cleared to play.

The Grizzlies (7-2) won for the fifth consecutive game while Nanaimo went to 4-3.

“We have a veteran group that knows how to win and wants to win this Island-bubble championship,” Didmon said of his Victoria squad. “It’s important to them and our guys are very committed to this. We want to keep rolling, but are taking nothing for granted.”

The Grizzlies were coming off a 10-0 victory Friday night over the Cowichan Valley Capitals in which 10 players scored.

“That shows our depth,” said Didmon.

“These back-to-back games are tough, but we’ve had success in them because of our depth.”

The Bulldogs (2-2-2) and Capitals (2-5-1) were playing in a late-finishing game Saturday night. Alberni Valley and Nanaimo play this afternoon while Victoria and Cowichan Valley meet on Monday night.

Each BCHL team is playing 20 games.

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