Sunday, 9 November 2014

Grizzlies Overcome Early Deficit Against Kings

     The Victoria Grizzlies didn't make it easy on themselves on a Saturday night showdown against an Island Division rival, the Powell River Kings. The Grizzlies failed to step on the ice on time, ending up in a 2 minute minor for delay of game because of the late arrival of the home team. The early penalty would prove to be costly, as a nice move by Jarid Lukosevicius left a wide open Stephen Hiff who finished the pretty passing play to give the Kings an early 1-0 lead. The Kings wouldn't stop there, as just over a minute later it would be chaos in front of the net, and Jacob Pritchard would put one past a completely disoriented Mike Stiliadis to give the Kings a commanding 2-0 lead just a couple of minutes into the hockey game. Grizzlies head coach Brad Knight would settle down his troops and the Victoria squad would control the pace of the play after the Pritchard goal. Midway through the frame, it would be Jay Mackie taking the reception from his linemates and snapping one past red-hot Kings goaltender Brett Magnus to cut the Kings lead in half heading to the dressing room for the first intermission.

     Whatever message Brad Knight had for his players definitely worked, as the Grizzlies completely dominated the second frame. The Grizzlies were outshooting the Kings 31-11 as the period drew to an end. It would be at the midway point of the second that the Grizzlies would finally get their equalizer, as Matt Kennedy made a smart play to swipe the puck off the falling Brett Gruber and found a wide open Dane Gibson at the side of the net who made no mistake. The Grizzlies would take their first lead of the hockey game late in the second period, as Zach Dixon tee'd up a one-timer for Meirs Moore who's point rocket would find it's way through traffic and beat a screened Magnus to give the home team the advantage heading into the third and final frame.

     One goal games have been a recurring theme this season, and it was down to the wire once again on Saturday night as the two teams went back and forth all the way to the final buzzer. There was chances both ways, with both goaltenders needing some help from their goal posts throughout the period. The Grizzlies took three consecutive penalties in the third, but thanks to some stellar defence and a couple of key saves from Stiliadis, Victoria was able to fend off the Kings' offence each time. It would be Matt Kennedy putting the icing on the cake late, as the Kings pulled the goalie late and came up empty, as Kennedy slid his third point of the night into a yawning cage to secure the 4-2 victory on home ice.

     Despite a horrendus start to the game and a rough patch to start the third period, the Grizzlies were able to shut down the Kings' top line and worked the cycle well in the offensive end to sustain constant pressure on the attack. Matt Kennedy was great in the game, posting the dagger late and tacking on two assists in the victory. Although he had a rough start, Mike Stiliadis was able to settle down and stop every shot from the 2-0 goal on en-route to his second win in as many nights. The Grizzlies snap the Kings' four-game win streak and will take three of four points on the weekend homestand. The Grizzlies now get another six days of rest before hitting the road next weekend for a tough three opponents in three nights. In the outcome, it wasn't a one-goal game on the score sheet, but it was still a close game until the end, further solidifying the Grizzlies identity as "the Drama Kings." -TB

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