Playing in front of a spirited crowd in Weyerhaeuser Arena in Port Alberni is never an easy thing for a visiting B.C. Hockey League team to tackle.
The Victoria Grizzlies put together a gutsy road effort on Wednesday, beating the hometown Bulldogs 6-3 to pad their lead in the Island Division and end a winless streak of three games.
The Grizzlies (5-1-1-1) were shorthanded 11 times in last night’s game but managed to kill off nine of those situations.
Alberni Valley (3-3-1-0) got a pair of power-play markers from Jake Witkowski in the third – he scored all three Bulldogs goals – but the Grizzlies had already built a 5-1 lead. Victoria, which held period leads of 2-0 and 4-1, was outshot 17-7 in the final frame and 32-26 overall.
BCHL leading pointgetter Cole Pickup and Tyler Welsh led the Grizzlies attack with a goal and an assist each. Pickup now has six goals and eight helpers for 14 points in eight games.
Defencemen Jake Stevens and Dayne Finnson, plus Jamie Rome and Cory Hatcher also scored in the win, while Matthew Galajda stopped 29 of 32 shots in goal.
Rome and Welsh’s goals came unassisted 1:57 apart later in the first period. The Bulldogs replaced starting goalie Carson Schamerhorn with Brody Claeys after two periods.
The Grizzlies will continue their tough schedule of five games in eight days tomorrow (Sept. 30) at The Q Centre when they face sniper Owen Stout and the Coquitlam Express starting at 7 p.m. Victoria jumps on the bus at 6 a.m. the next morning to head to Powell River for a late afternoon game against the Kings.
Bear Claws … Injured 20 year olds, d-man Brett Stirling and forward Nick Guiney, remain on the shelf for Friday’s game.