A crowd gathers around the Victoria net during a Jan. 28 game against Alberni Valley. The Grizzlies and Bulldogs play their final matchup of the regular season Wednesday (Feb. 18) in Port Alberni.

Final BCHL inter-divisional matchups critical for Grizzlies

Maintaining the momentum key for Jr. A puck squad: coach

After playing six good periods of hockey last weekend, the Victoria Grizzlies are looking at stringing together 15 more to wind up the B.C. Hockey League regular season.

“It’s all (Island) division hockey from here on in and we want to make an impression,” said head coach and general manager Craig Didmon, whose team plays the Bulldogs in Port Alberni tomorrow night (Feb. 18) and returns home to play Powell River this Saturday.

With only the one game left against the second-place Kings (26-18-1-9), who lead the Grizzlies (24-18-1-10) by three points, securing home ice advantage for the playoffs is largely out of their hands, he said.

“Home ice advantage is always an advantage, for sure, and we’d love to have that. But we can’t control that entirely. We do want to win every game. If we can play our game for the rest of the way, we’re going to be in good shape.”

A 6-2 home win over Prince George on Saturday and an 8-4 win over Alberni the night before at The Q Centre saw the Grizzlies leapfrog back over the Bulldogs (26-21-2-3) into third place.

Victoria’s top line of Dane Gibson, Brett Gruber and new linemate Jay Mackie led the attack as expected, piling up 19 points in total. Mackie replaced Matthew Kennedy, who is out until late March with a broken collarbone.

While Didmon expects those players and veterans like Thomas Gobeil to step up when it counts, he also liked what he saw from the checking line of team captain Shawn McBride, Kevin Massy and Ayden MacDonald.

“(McBride) has been solid all season,” the coach said, noting that the trio are scoring some timely goals as well as preventing others.

Tonight’s game at Weyerhaeuser Arena is the proverbial four-pointer for Alberni, who take a tough road trip through the Interior Division this weekend then finish off with back-to-back games in Powell River.

Didmon wants to see the same intensity the Grizzlies played with in their past three games against the scrappy Dogs: Victoria is 3-0, winning by a combined score of 20-7.

So, the Grizzlies’ playoff position is in their hands in some ways and not in others. Making an impression against each of their divisional rivals, as Didmon said, may be the best thing they can do heading into the playoffs, which start March 3.

“It was hard coming in mid-season like I did,” he said. “But I really feel after this weekend that guys are starting to understand the system and the defensive consciousness that needs to be in place (to succeed in) playoff hockey.”

Saturday’s game at The Q Centre starts at 7 p.m.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Weekend recap

The Victoria Grizzlies moved back into third in the BCHL’s Island Division with a pair of wins last weekend. Here’s a snapshot of how they looked:

Feb. 13, Grizzlies 8 Alberni Valley 4 – VG: Brett Gruber 3 goals, 1 assist; Dane Gibson 5A; Jay Mackie, Zach Dixon, Ayden MacDonald 1G 1A each; Cole Pickup 1G; Thomas Gobeil 1G; Michael Stiliadis 35 saves. AV: Mitch Makin 2G 1A; Tyler Poveloskie 1G 1A

Feb. 14, Grizzlies 6 Prince George 2 – VG: D. Gibson 2G 1A; B. Gruber 1G 2A; Z. Dixon 1G 1A; C. Pickup 1G; A. MacDonald 1G; Sean Cleary 20 saves. PG: Brogan O’Brien 1G; Cole McCaskill 1G.

Just Posted

VicPD catches impaired driver near elementary school

Citizens alerted police to driver near James Bay Community School

Victoria’s Belfry Theatre hosts its first ‘relaxed performance’ for a diverse audience

Performance of Every Brilliant Thing is first to pilot the option

Car crash at Quadra and Finalyson Streets affects Saturday traffic

VicPD and the Victoria Fire Department responded

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

Most Read