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Top spot on the line for Victoria Grizzlies, Powell River Kings

Ryan Nolan and the Grizzlies have a double-header this weekend with the Powell River Kings.

Cleve Dheensaw / Times Colonist
FEBRUARY 1, 2019 09:58 PM

The next two games at The Q Centre could go a long way toward determining the Island Division champion in the B.C. Hockey League.

The Victoria Grizzlies are preparing to meet the visiting Powell River Kings Saturday night and Sunday at noon with a lot on the line.

Victoria (30-16-2) leads Powell River (30-18-1) by one point with the Kings having played one more game than Victoria after Powell River dropped a 3-2 decision to the Bulldogs in Port Alberni on Friday night.

Two weekends ago, the Kings swept a two-game set with the Grizzlies in Powell River.

“I think all the guys are excited to get back at Powell River,” said veteran Ryan Nolan, who picked up an assist in Thursday’s win over Alberni to extend his point streak to four games.

“We want to come out hard and control the pace of the game all the way through the weekend.”

The Island Division champion will meet either the Bulldogs or Cowichan Valley Capitals — battling for fourth and fifth places in the division — in the first round of the playoffs.

The Island second seed will meet third-place Nanaimo in the opening post-season round.

While their teams battle atop the Island Division table, Alex Newhook of the Grizzlies and Ryan Brushett of the Kings are waging a personal battle atop the BCHL scoring parade.

Newhook, who turned 18 on Monday and who’s projected by Central Scouting for the first round of the 2019 NHL draft in Vancouver, leads the league with 75 points in 44 games. Brushett, an overage 20-year-old, is second with 71 points in 47 games.

Nobody else is even close with third-place Mike Hardman of the West Kelowna Warriors on 61 points.

Newhook, because of fewer games played, has a clear lead in points-per-game average with 1.70 to Bruschett’s 1.51. Both players are headed next season to play in the U.S. collegiate NCAA Div. 1, Newhook at Boston College and Bruschett at Nebraska-Omaha.

Brushett leads the league in goals with 34, followed by Hardman with 32.

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