Kalen Szeto scored three goals, including the winner with 30 seconds left in regulation, to propel the Grizzlies to a 5-3 victory.
Without two key defencemen and their leading goal scorer, the Victoria Grizzlies needed their depth players to pick up the slack if they were going to knock off the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday.
And that’s exactly what they got as Kalen Szeto scored three goals, including the winner with 30 seconds left in regulation, to propel the Grizzlies to a 5-3 victory in front of 1,271 fans at The Q Centre.
With 20-year-old defenceman Isaack Bandu and 16-year-old star winger Matthew Wood serving suspensions, and blue-liner Declan Ride injured, the Grizzlies (8-3) scraped out a win over the Caps (2-9) having never held a lead in the game until Szeto’s third goal of the contest at 19:30 of the third period. Szeto, 19 and headed to the NCAA and Yale University next season, also scored the first and second Victoria goals. After Colton Thompson beat Kyle Kelsey just 2:30 into the game to give the Capitals an early lead, Szeto struck 35 second later to get the Grizzlies even.
Owen Simpson for the Caps, and then Szeto again made the game 2-2 midway through the opening frame.
Cowichan’s Eli Pilosof and Victoria’s Cam Smith traded second period goals, setting up a tight third period.
BCHL leading scored finished the scoring with an empty-netter. Eddy also collected two assists to bring his season point total to 21.
The Grizzlies now turn their attention to trying to clip the Eagles’ wings as Surrey pays a visit to The Q Centre tonight. The Eagles (4-6) were beaten 5-0 by the Bulldogs on Friday night in Port Alberni.
LOOSE PUCKS: Despite missing this weekend’s games due to suspension, Wood did get some good news Friday. The Nanaimo product was named as one of 66 U-17 players for the Capital City Challenge tournament featuring three Canadian teams (Red, White and Black) and the Canadian women’s national team Nov. 26-Dec. 1 in Ottawa. The tournament will be played at TD Place, home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ottawa 67’s.