Grizzlies rookie netminder Joe Howe made 41 saves Sunday in a victory over Powell River at The Q Centre.
Photograph By DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST
Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
OCTOBER 7, 2019 09:23 PM
Fitting it was Salsa Sunday at The Q Centre because the Grizzlies, having lost their previous five games, brought some spice to their game.
Sparked by the hot netminding of rookie Joe Howe, the Grizzlies ended their losing skid in style with a 7-2 victory over the visiting Powell River Kings.
Sporting their black and red retro Salsa third jerseys in front of 1,140 fans at The Q Centre, the Grizzlies (4-7), in just their second home game of the season, struck early and often against the Kings (7-6), who have now lost three straight.
It was also the third meeting in eight days between the two Island Division rivals, with the Kings winning the other two, including last Wednesday at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack.
“Full credit to our guys. They wanted to change the way we were going and you could see it in practice [Saturday] that they were determined and they knew the importance of this game and it showed,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.
It took just two minutes and 45 seconds for the Grizzlies to open the scoring as speedy rookie Chase McInnis flew out of the corner on a power play, took a nifty feed from Brendan Bowie and fired a high wrister past Matteo Paler-Chow in the Kings’ net.
Veteran Nico Somerville added another power-play marker midway through the first period, and with five minutes left in the opening frame, Grizzlies leading scorer Henri Schreifels jumped out the penalty box, took a breakaway feed from Marty Westhaver and beat Paler-Chow, whose day was over after the first period, replaced by rookie call-up Eric Clark. It was Schreifels’ six goal of the season.
“The guys had some jump and finally got some puck luck around the net,” said Didmon. “We haven’t been playing that badly but we just got some horrible bounces around the net and today our luck changed.”
Clark couldn’t stop the bleeding as Darwin Lakoduc beat him just 35 seconds into the second period to send the Grizzlies on their way.
Powell River outshot Victoria 43-31 but Howe was on his game, especially in the opening period when the Barrie, Ont., native turned aside all 19 shots he faced.
“I’m still not happy with our complete game,” said Didmon. “I know Powell River is a very good team but we need to have a better 200-foot game. Joe had a great game but we shouldn’t have to depend on him like that.”
Howe lost his shutout bid 5:30 into the third period when Reilly Morgan finished off a two-on-one for Powell River. Levi Glasman had the other Kings goal with five minutes left in the final period.
McInnis, late in the second, and Westhaver and Eddie Yan in the third period, rounded out the Grizzlies’ scoring.
The Grizzlies now get a few days off before heading back out on the road to face the Bulldogs in Port Alberni on Friday. Then they’ll return to The Q Centre on Saturday night to host the Trail Smoke Eaters.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were minus several players Sunday so they called up 16-year-old defenceman Patrick Ferrie from the Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League. Out of the lineup for the Grizzlies were injured players Liam Souliere, Brady MacDonald and Ben Biester, and 19-year-old defenceman Ryan Fischer has decided to leave the team and return home to California. Seventeen-year-old rookie defenceman Chace Oliver, a Canadian citizen who spent time living in Arizona, is still awaiting clearance from Hockey Canada to play on a regular basis.