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Merritt offence comes out on top, knocking down Victoria Grizzlies

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
OCTOBER 27, 2018 09:52 PM


The top two offences in the B.C. Hockey League went toe-to-toe on Saturday night at Nicola Valley Memorial Arena and it was the host Merritt Centennials, No. 1 in goals with 82, edging the Victoria Grizzlies, second in the league with 72 goals, by a 4-2 score.

Led by the league’s second leading point-getter Bradley Cocca’s two goals, the Centennials, tops in the Interior Division at 12-8, scored early and late to knock off a Grizzlies team that was coming off a victory over the league-leading Chiefs the night before in Chilliwack.

After Mathieu Gosselin scored just 12 seconds into the game on the first shot on Grizzlies netminder Kurtis Chapman, the Grizzlies got goals from Carter Berger and Charlie Campbell to silence the crowd of 750 in Merritt. But then Cocca scored his ninth and 10th goals of the season in the second period to help the Cents rebound from a 6-1 home-ice loss to the Penticton Vees the night before.

Gosselin put the game on ice with a breakaway goal four minutes into the third period.

Grizzlies captain Alex Newhook finished with two assists.

Chapman made 33 saves in a losing cause, while Vincent Duplessis turned aside 32 Victoria shots to pick up the victory.

The loss drops the Grizzlies’ record to 11-7-1, but they remain atop the Island Division, one point up on the Powell River Kings, who beat the Nanaimo Clippers 4-1 on Saturday night.

The Grizzlies now head south to Surrey to take on the Eagles (6-14) today at 4 p.m.

Victoria’s next home game is Friday night when the Trail Smoke Eaters visit The Q Centre.