The game surprised everyone, but not the first period. In spite to a pair of penalties against the Grizzlies, shots at the end of the Period #1 were 15-5 in favour of the visitors. The Grizzlies had plenty of chances but the key moment in the entire game for me was a curious decision by Coach Craig Didmon to use up his timeout with only 51 seconds left in the period. After an icing call which left his charges gassed, Didmon recognised the strategic significance of what it would mean to suddenly give up a goal so late in the period after dominating it so well.
|The ISC, sight of the 7-1 Grizzlies victory on Tuesday night|
Just a minute and a half into the second period, that momentum would prove vital as the Grizzlies would score off a beautiful half spin move by #17 Joey Visconti. The Ontario native found himself parked at the right side of Cowichan goalie Storm Phaneuf's crease after a long pass from Illinois D-Man, Jake Setvens who spotted Visconti heading through the slot. Visconti, waited out Phaneuf and fired the puck over the former QMJHL goal tender and the Grizz were in front for the first time.
Late in the period the Captain, PJ Conlon, who was +5 on the night, would score what looked like a PP goal but with time expiring on the penalty to the Caps, Brayden Gelsinger would make a beautiful cross ice pass from the slot and feed Conlon who was beavertailing for the pass at the far right of Phaneuf. Conlon dispatched a picture perfect one-timer and suddenly it was 2-0 Grizzlies on the road versus a team who won all three of the first meetings between the two clubs.
|The PG Coliseum at -11 without wind chill will host the Grizzlies Friday night|
But it was the third period which saw what is really interesting about this year's Victoria Grizzlies. This team is truly a team of redemption. After suffering through the worst start in franchise history, the Grizzlies now seem to have shaken off the past and are scoring at will on most nights. They are also defending with a fierce determination.
|Saturday night will see the Grizz return to Chilliwack, site of the team's frist win of the 2015/16 season|
With two more quick goals, Conlon would earn a natural hat trick early into the third period which would be his first as a Grizzly but more importantly would represent the team's second hat trick in three games after witnessing Gelsinger's 3 goal performance on Friday night versus the Kings. The period would continue to go all Grizzlies with Pickup scoring a goal along with his three assists but only after Gelsinger (my pick for BCHL Player of the Week BTW) would score his 6th goal in three games. The game would end with a Nick Guiney unassisted goal on a breakaway created by the Langford native who timed a wayward interception in the neutral zone perfectly.
|Sunday, the Grizzlies will close out the 4 game road swing on the Olympic size surface in Surrey|