(Above Photo) Victoria’s Zack Anderson (19) battles during Saturday’s match up with Nanaimo (Photo: Kyle Robinson Photography)
Victoria, BC ~ The Grizzlies finished a two game weekend at the Q by picking up a point and proving that they can play with the best in the Coastal Conference.
January 6, 2023 – Victoria @ Cowichan Valley: 1-3
Victoria, who came into the weekend with a 8-1-1 record over the past ten games, started 2023 with a trip over the Malahat to visit the bottom of the conference Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday night.
Victoria was 5-0 on the season against the Caps before Friday’s meeting but that trend came to a close after Cowichan was able to rally from behind to knock off the Grizzlies 3-1.
Victoria seemed to be off on the right foot after Jack Gorton opened the scoring just over 4 minutes into the game when a couple of nice moves ended with him slotting the puck through the legs of Cowichan’s net minder McCoy Bidewell for his 10th marker of the season.
The scoring for the Grizz would go cold from there however, as Cowichan’s Luke Lavery would tie the game at 12:00 of the second period, and Logan Camp would make it 2-1 Caps with 3:17 gone in the final frame. Cole Melady would then add an empty netter making it 3-1 with 56 seconds remaining and that scoreline would hold up, snapping Cowichan’s 11 game losing streak.
January 7, 2023 – Victoria vs Nanaimo: 2-3 (OT)
The Grizzlies would return home the next day to host the Coastal Conference leading Clippers for their fourth meeting of the season.
Saturday night would turn out to be the most entertaining game of the Grizzlies season so far as Victoria would come from behind twice before falling in overtime.
After a scoreless first period that saw Victoria dominate and out shoot Nanaimo 18-4, the Clippers would come out gunning for the first 10 minutes of the second. There push was capped off by Willyam Gendron’s 13th of the season which banked off the skate of Grizzlies captain Eli Barnett and tricked over the goal line to create an unlucky deficit for Victoria.
After out shooting the Clippers 35-17 after two periods of play, Anthony Carone would final solve Aidan Campbell in Nanaimo’s goal, when Anthony took a pass in the slot from Tim Busconi and fired the puck up and over the blocker of Campbell for Carone’s 3rd of the year at 3:11 of the third period.
Nanaimo’s Willyam Gendron would then answer for his second of the game on the power-play when Devon deVries was called for a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct for showering Aidan Campbell while racing for a lose puck.
Victoria, who refused to be put down, was able to tie the game once more when Cam Smith’s shot created a rebound for Jacksenn Hungle to put home for his 7th of the year with under 2:30 minutes remaining in the game.
That goal would send the 1,400 Grizzlies faithful at the Q into a frenzy, as it was a loud bunch for the entirety of the evening.
Unfortunately for Victoria however, 4 minutes into the extra frame Kai Daniells would beat Oliver Auyeung-Ashton in Victoria’s goal for the overtime winner to seal the Nanaimo victory.
Saturday night’s rivalry matchup between the Grizzlies and Clippers felt like a playoff game, and although it was not the result the Grizzlies were hoping for, it proved that the Grizzlies are primed for playoff action.
Victoria returns to action on Saturday the 14th at the Q Center for a meeting with the Langley Rivermen. Victoria is 2-0 against Langley this season after the Rivermen eliminated the Grizzlies from playoff action last April.