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Schreifels helps ignite Victoria Grizzlies’ new-found offence

Henri Schreifels leads the Grizzlies in scoring.
Photograph By DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
OCTOBER 10, 2019 09:54 PM

It looks like a little tinkering is all it took to get the Victoria Grizzlies’ offence on track.

After five straight losses, including both games at the Bauer BCHL Showcase, the Grizzlies’ offence exploded for seven goals last Sunday against the Powell River Kings.

In fact, Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon was so frustrated with his team’s lack of production that he let the players make up the first two line combinations.

“I give the credit to our leadership group, they came up with the first two lines and it looks like we might have something,” said Didmon as his team gears up for a trip to Port Alberni today to face the Bulldogs.

Leading the charge offensively is veteran Henri Schreifels. The 19-year-old’s three-point game Sunday gives him six goals and 12 points in 11 games, both tops on the team.

“Henri has been playing a complete game these last few games,” said Didmon, whose team takes a 4-7 record into Alberni against the 5-8 Bulldogs.

“He’s focusing on good defensive play and waiting for his offensive opportunities and capitalizing when he gets them. He’s big and physical, too, and when he uses that to his advantage, he’s tough to play against.”

Schreifels, of Agoura Hills, California, is in his second full season with the Grizzlies and has built off an impressive playoff last spring when he tallied seven points in 15 post-season games.

“I’m just getting more confidence the last few games and feel really good out on the ice and it’s a lot easier to play when you have that confidence,” said Schreifels, who has already matched his goal total from 38 regular season games last season.

In the latest version of the Grizzlies’ top-six forward unit, captain Marty Westhaver is playing with highly touted rookies Cody Monds and Brendan Bowie, while Schreifels is playing the wing alongside fellow speedsters Eddie Yan and Darwin Lakoduc.

“We’ve been experimenting with different line combinations, but I really like playing with Eddie and Darwin. They’re both fast and we’ve developed some chemistry now because we also played together a bit last year so, hopefully, we’ll only get better.”

Schreifels has yet to secure an NCAA scholarship, but after a solid Showcase in front of dozens of scouts and a multi-point game last Sunday, his phone will likely be buzzing now.

“I’ve had a few more calls in the last few days so, hopefully, I can keep my play ramped up and help the team succeed and then the rest should take care of itself.”

Schreifels is also a veteran of the trek to Port Alberni so he knows it’s going to be loud inside Weyerhaeuser Arena tonight and the Bulldogs will be rarin’ to go in the first meeting between the two clubs this season.

“They always play us hard and physical up there and crowd is really into it, but that makes it a fun atmosphere to play in so our guys are looking forward to having a good game,” added Schreifels.

The Grizzlies will return to Victoria immediately following tonight’s game as they get a rematch with the Trail Smoke Eaters on Saturday night at The Q Centre. The Smoke Eaters, 5-5-1 going into tonight’s game against Cowichan Valley, defeated the Grizzlies 6-2 on Sept. 26 in Trail.

“Yah, we owe them one,” said Schreifels. “They’re a skilled team and have put together a few wins in a row here so it’s going to be a good challenge.”

bdrewry@timescolonist.com

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