Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
FEBRUARY 17, 2020 09:31 PM
The Liam Souliere Show continued its boffo run for the Victoria Grizzlies. It was a matinée performance Sunday as the NCAA Penn State Nittany Lions-bound goaltender made 37 saves to be named second star of the Grizzlies’ 4-2 victory over the Powell River Kings. It was the 20-year-old Blainville, Que., native’s eighth victory in his last nine starts.
Souliere also kept the Grizzlies in the game with 43 saves and was named second star in a 3-2 loss to the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Saturday night in Duncan. This was after a towering 51-save performance last week in a 4-3 victory over the Langley Rivermen.
Having missed much of the B.C. Hockey League season to a knee injury, Souliere only joined the roster in early January, and said his timing isn’t quite there yet. Opposing shooters can only cringe when he gets that timing to where he wants it to be.
“Souliere is playing with a lot of confidence,” said Grizzlies head coach and GM Craig Didmon.
“He’s a competitor and wants to win. That adds such fuel to your dressing room. Guys want to play in front of him.”
Grizzlies forward Cody Monds, as crafty as he is quick, was named first star Sunday for his goal and assist against the Kings.
Monds is committed to NCAA Div. 1 Providence the season after next, and will return to Victoria next season. He is already leaving a memorable freshman calling card and is ninth overall in BCHL scoring with 58 points and second among rookies, one point behind Greg Lapointe of the Coquitlam Express.
Didmon has compared Monds’ style favourably to that of former Grizzlies forward and Stanley Cup-champion NHLer Tyler Bozak, whose jersey the Grizzlies retired this season. Monds has better numbers than Bozak did in his rookie season in Victoria.
Brady MacDonald, Trevor Bishop and Andrew Amousse also scored for the Grizzlies on Sunday. Devin Leduc and NCAA Div. 1 Colgate-committed Levi Glasman replied for Powell River. Thomas Wardle made 19 saves for the Kings.
The Grizzlies (24-31-1) are 8-2-1 in their past 11 games. They further entrenched themselves into the first of three wild-card playoff berths and are locked into opening the BCHL playoffs against the third-place team in the Interior Division — which will either be the Wenatchee Wild, Vernon Vipers or Salmon Arm Silverbacks — with three points separating those teams.
“Health a big part of it [late season surge],” said Didmon.
“We faced a lot of adversity this season. But through it, there has been strong development among players as the season progressed. The veterans are leading and are comfortable in their roles. The whole team is playing with a lot of confidence.”
The season concludes with a quirk — three consecutive games against the Kings, concluding Friday and Saturday in Powell River.
“We have six periods remaining in the regular season. We might try different lineup combinations and stuff just to see,” said Didmon.
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