Tuesday, September 1, 2015 – Submitted by Mario Annicchiarico / Times Colonist
The Victoria Grizzlies used a pair of first-period power-play goals to record their first pre-season victory — a 2-1 result over the visiting Nanaimo Clippers at Juan de Fuca Arena on Tuesday night.
Not that results are what you base the B.C. Hockey League exhibition season on, but it’s always nice to record that first victory.
“For sure, no matter what you look at, you know if you don’t win a hockey game. So certainly I’m happy for the boys that we got that and we can sort of carry on from there,” said Grizzlies head coach and general manager Craig Didmon.
Didmon liked the composure of some of his first-year players. Defencemen Brett Stirling and Jake Stevens continue to look smooth at the back end. Joey Visconti was sharp up front, but the best player on the night was goaltender Mitchell Benson who went the distance.
He was credited with 49 saves, although team officials had it more like 35.
“I thought he was our best player tonight. We have some work to do in our defensive zone, we had some breakdowns and he was there for us,” said Didmon. “He was a big part of the win tonight.”
Benson’s best save of the night came early in the third period as he made a blocker save off D.J. Petruzelli in tight on a Nanaimo man advantage. He also made a similar save off Will Koop in the first period and at least twice had help from defenceman Kevin Massy.
Sage Fleming and Corey Iapalucci had the power-play goals at 2:53 and 12:38 of the first.
Edwin Hookenson replied with a man advantage goal for the Clippers at 16:50 of the first.
Nanaimo countered with 1999-born goaltender Jacob Walter, who allowed two goals on 17 shots. Evan Plotnik mopped up facing 14.
The two teams meet again tonight at 7 at Nanaimo’s Frank Crane Arena. That’s when Didmon will chop down his roster.
“It will be a significant chop after that game,” said Didmon.
IN THE DEN: P.J. Conlon wore the ‘C’ for the Grizzlies.