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Nanaimo Clippers add to Victoria Grizzlies’ woes

Victoria’s Chase McInnis, left, gets away from Nanaimo’s Kyler Kovichto take a shot during their game at The Q Centre on Saturday night.


The ol’ hockey cliché, “We have to play a full 60 minutes,” is a cliché for a reason — it’s true.

The Victoria Grizzlies found that out the hard way Saturday night at The Q Centre. Desperately trying to end their six-game losing skid, the Grizzlies played a solid game for 55 minutes, but it’s that other five minutes that the Nanaimo Clippers made them pay.

The Island Division-leading Clippers scored three goals in a span of 4:28 in the first period and then watched netminder Zachary Bennett stymie the Grizzlies at every turn, leading to a 4-0 Clippers victory in front of 968 fans.

The win allowed the Clippers (15-6-2) to extend their lead over second-place Cowichan Valley to four points, while the Grizzlies fell to 7-18 and remain last in the Island Division.

It was the Grizzlies’ fifth consecutive defeat on home ice. Victoria is now 2-8 at The Q Centre.

Again it was the Grizzlies lack of finish around the opposing net that came back to haunt the home team. Victoria outshot Nanaimo 38-36, but the Grizzlies have now scored just nine goals in their past eight games.

Zack Dallazanna got things started for the Clippers with his first goal of the season seven minutes into the first period, just seconds after Grizzlies rookie Brendan Bowie had hit the post at the other end.

Then the Clippers’ power play went to work. Joshua Bourne and Kyler Kovich scored man-advantage markers at 8:18 and 11:18 of the opening period. Kovich added a second early in the third. Grizzlies’ star rookies Bowie (St. Lawrence), Cody Monds (Providence) and Chase McInnis (Northeastern), all with NCAA scholarships for 2021, were buzzing all night, but Bennett was equal to every task. The netminder, who spent last season with the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, evened his record at 5-5.

The game was the second of three straight between the Grizzlies and Clippers. The third game goes Friday night at The Q Centre.

LOOSE PUCKS: The injury bug has hit the Grizzlies hard. Already without veterans Brady MacDonald and Eddie Yan, the Grizzlies lost defenceman Reid Lindsay and forward Connor Eddy to injuries in Friday’s game in Nanaimo. The Grizzlies called up Westshore Wolves defenceman Tory McClintick for Saturday’s game.

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