Brian Drewry / Times Colonist
JANUARY 4, 2020 10:19 PM
Liam Souliere waited 40 games to get into his first B.C. Hockey League game.
He might have wanted to wait 41.
After suffering a knee injury in preseason, the 20-year-old Souliere started in net for the first time for the Victoria Grizzlies on Saturday night at the South Okanagan Centre against the Interior Division-leading Penticton Vees.
And the high-powered Vees, leading the BCHL in goals-for with 158, showed no mercy toward the netminder from Blainville, Que., scoring early — just 33 seconds in — and then going toe-to-toe with the Grizzlies’ offence before pulling away for an 8-4 victory, leaving the Grizzlies winless in the first two games of their three-games-in-three-days road trip.
Souliere, who played Junior A for the Brockville Braves in Ontario last season and will head to Penn State of the NCAA next fall, made 31 saves, but the Vees, with 12 players committed to NCAA schools, wouldn’t be denied in front of a large hometown crowd of 3,102 fans.
After the Grizzlies were given a delay of game penalty before the game even started because the officials said they didn’t leave the ice at the proper time following the pre-game warmup, Jackson Niedermayer, son of NHL Hall of Fame defenceman Scott, struck on the power play for the first of his three goals on the night.
Grizzlies captain Marty Westhaver got that back at the five-minute mark, scoring the first of his two goals that give him a team-leading 17 goals for the season.
And the Grizzlies went into the intermission with the lead thanks to a Henri Schreifels goal with 34 seconds left.
Niedermayer, Tyler Ho, Tristan Amonte and Niedermayer again all scored in the second to send the Vees to their 30th win of the season.
Connor Eddy had a second-period goal for the Grizzlies (15-26-0).
Yaniv Perets started in goal for Penticton, but was replaced midway through the second period after giving up the four Grizzlies goals. Carl Stankowski went the rest of the way for the Vees, finishing with six saves.
The Grizzlies now head to the to Surrey to face the Eagles today at 4 p.m.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were without defenceman Colton Kitchen after he was injured on Friday night in Wenatchee, and rookie winger Andrew Amousse after he was handed a two-game suspension for a blow to the head penalty against the Wild. Veteran winger Eddie Yan also remains out with an injury.
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