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Vernon Vipers extend Victoria Grizzlies’ home misery

The Grizzlies’ Cody Monds tries to get around the Vipers’ Christian Felton at The Q Centre on Friday night.

Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
NOVEMBER 1, 2019 10:01 PM

It was all teed it up for the Victoria Grizzlies on Friday night at The Q Centre.

Veteran defenceman Brady MacDonald was back after missing 18 games due to injury. It’s also Parents Weekend for the B.C. Hockey League team, so moms and dads were in the building to cheer on their sons.

But the Grizzlies whiffed again on home ice, losing 5-2 to the Vernon Vipers in front of 1,231 fans at The Q Centre.

The Vipers (11-7) bit the Grizzlies for three early goals and then survived a brief push-back by the home team in the second period to pick up their eighth win in their last nine games.

The Grizzlies lost their fifth straight game on home ice, dropping their overall record to 7-14. They remain last in the Island Division.

The Vipers used their power play to jump on the Grizzlies early. Connor Marritt, who will head to the NCAA and Northern Michigan in the fall, and Matt Kowalski scored goals with the man advantage.

Colby Feist had an even-strength marker to send the visitors to the first intermission in control up 3-0.

The Grizzlies found some life in the second, led by veteran defenceman Nico Somerville, who picked off a clearing attempt and then fired a wrister past Vipers netminder Reilly Herbst at the five-minute mark.

Two minutes later, it was newcomer Trevor Bishop finishing off a nifty three-way passing play with Reid Lindsay and Kahlil Fontana to bring The Q Centre to life.

But the Vipers got to the intermission with the lead and then added late goals from Connor Sleeth and former WHL Regina Pats forward Dawson Holt to ice the victory.

Joe Howe made 27 saves in the Grizzlies’ net, while Herbst stopped 25 Victoria shots.

The Grizzlies cap off their all-Okanagan weekend Saturday night when they host the Penticton Vees at The Q Centre. The Vees beat the Eagles 5-3 in Surrey on Friday night to improve their record to 15-3-1.

LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were 0-2 on the power play, while the Vipers were 2-4. …The Grizzlies were again without rookie blue-liner Isack Bandu as he served the final game of a five-game suspension for a match penalty. … Following Saturday night’s contest, the Grizzlies get another short week as they head over the Malahat on Wednesday to take on the Cowichan Valley Capitals in Duncan.

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