Victoria Grizzlies forward Jay Mackie (right) digs for the puck against Coquitlam during Sunday's game at The Q Centre. The Grizzlies got back on the winning track with a 5-3 victory

Grizzlies add scoring punch at BCHL’s trade deadline

Junior A squad rebounds from back-to-back losses in Powell River with home win Sunday over Coquitlam

With the B.C. Hockey League season heading into its final month or so, the Victoria Grizzlies made a move aimed at adding some offence to the team down the stretch.

On Saturday the Grizzlies acquired 20-year-old forward Thomas Gobeil from the Cowichan Valley Capitals for future considerations. He was held off the scoresheet in Sunday’s game against Coquitlam at The Q Centre, a 5-3 win, but made an impact with his physical play and puck movement.

The victory was a solid finish to a weekend that began with back-to-back losses in Powell River, 4-3 in overtime on Friday and 6-4 on Saturday.

Gobeil tallied 13 goals and 11 assists in 25 games for the Caps this season, scoring four power play goals and racking up 36 minutes in penalties. The six-one, 220-pounder has high-level experience, having played 155 games of major junior hockey with three separate teams in the Quebec league before this year.

Grizzlies head coach/general manager Craig Didmon said Gobeil gives the team greater size and scoring ability on the front line, and expects him to help create a more “dynamic offensive attack.”

To make room fon the roster, the Grizzlies released 20-year forward Storm Wahlrab, who had four assists in 20 games. The California native was in his second season with the club.

Among other moves made at the deadline, the Grizzlies traded 19-year-old rookie defenceman Justin Sadler to the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League for future considerations.

Victoria also added homegrown blueliner Tomba Huddlestan, 17, from the major midget South Island Royals. The 6-2, 180-pounder had two goals, 12 points and 62 penalty minutes in his second season with the Royals and has played eight games with the Island junior B league’s Westshore Wolves, tallying one goal and four points.

Sunday’s game saw the Grizzlies (18-13-1-8) hold period leads of 2-1 and 4-3 and outshoot the Express 43-24. Dane Gibson led the attack with a goal and two assists, while other goals went to Brett Gruber, Garret Forster, Matthew Kennedy and Jake Emilio, who finished a off a terrific passing play with Cole Pickup and P.J. Conlon to score shorthanded in the second period.

Victoria trails Powell River (20-14-0-8) by three points for second place in the Island Division, but has two games in hand. The Grizzlies next play Cowichan Valley tomorrow night (Jan. 13) in Duncan, then hit the road to take on Chilliwack on Friday and Prince George on Saturday.

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