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Liam Souliere keeps Victoria Grizzlies in high gear

Liam Souliere leads the Grizzlies into action Tuesday against the Langley Rivermen.
Photograph By ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
FEBRUARY 10, 2020 10:20 PM

It perhaps isn’t coincidental that the Victoria Grizzlies’ recent change in fortunes for the better have coincided with the return of Liam Souliere in the crease.

The goaltender is showing why the NCAA Div. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions have recruited him as their creaseman of the future. Souliere was B.C. Hockey League honourable mention for player of the week for his two wins and combined 61 saves on 64 shots with a 1.50 goals-against average and .953 save percentage.

“Liam gives us an edge every night. He battles hard every game and competes,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.

The BCHL player of the week award went to Coquitlam Express blue-liner Drew Cooper for his six points in two games, including a goal and two assists in the 6-3 victory over Victoria goaltending starter Blake Wood and the rest of the Grizzlies on Saturday in Coquitlam. Cooper is a native of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and headed to NCAA Div. 1 Ferris State.

Victoria has won five of its last six games with the loss being against Cooper and the season powerhouse Express in that weekend tilt.

Meanwhile, the Blainville, Que., native Souliere is 7-4 with a 3.41 goals-against average and .913 save percentage since joining the Grizzlies after missing all of the season before that to a knee injury. He has won his last six starts.

The Grizzlies (22-30-1) will likely ride the five-foot-11, 20-year-old goalkeeper into action tonight against the visiting Langley Rivermen (21-27-4) at The Q Centre.

The fixture follows up the game against the Rivermen on Sunday in the Valley in which the Grizzlies defeated host Langley 7-2 as game third-star Souliere made 31 saves.

“[Souliere] battled and kept us in the game and allowed us to take over in the third period,” said Didmon.

First-star Kahlil Fontana had two goals and two assists and second-star Alex DiPaolo two assists for the Grizzlies. Andrew Amousse, Vincent Nardone, Connor Eddy, Henri Schreifels and Brendan Bowie scored once each for Victoria.

“It was a closer game than the score would indicate,” said Didmon.

He also labelled it a “nasty” affair.

“Langley will be looking to redeem itself. It is a good club and we know it will come out ablazing because of the game Sunday. Especially since that game ended up quite physical.”

LOOSE PUCKS: Grizzlies captain Marty Westhaver missed all three weekend games on the Mainland with an injury, but is expected to return to the lineup tonight.

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