Grizzlies ready to roll through BCHL’s Interior Division

Head coach Brad Knight expects a good test against tough teams

The Victoria Grizzlies climbed on the bus this morning for their first B.C. Hockey League weekend road swing of the season.

The gauntlet sees the Grizzlies take on the Silverbacks in Salmon Arm tonight (Oct. 17), the Vees in Penticton the next night and the Merritt Centennials on Sunday afternoon.

Grizzlies head coach Brad Knight said the road trip through the Interior is coming at precisely the right time.

“We need to be more successful at home, and maybe we can find the secret of that success on the road,” he said. “This gives us an opportunity to re-establish who we are and what we stand for.”

Coming off a 4-3 home loss to Island Division-leading Nanaimo that saw their third-period comeback fall short, the Grizzlies will face three teams from what Knight called one of the toughest divisions in the league.

Penticton is a league-best 8-1-0-0 heading into this weekend’s play, their only loss a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Merritt back on Sept. 27. And Salmon Arm (4-3-0-2) and Merritt (5-4-0-0) are not far behind.

“We’re going into a division that’s really, really good,” he says. “We need to be respectful of where those teams sit in their standings, but at the same time we need some wins.”

Having won their own division the past two years, the Grizzlies have a target on their backs, he adds.

“Victoria’s one of the top franchises in the league in regards to our expectations. It’s good to have teams that get ramped up against us, but at the end of the day, it’s about us playing well as a team. The big thing for me is (getting) a consistent work ethic.”

Sports history is filled with stories of road trips helping teams bond, but Knight said his players already have good chemistry. What they are in the process of learning together is what it takes to win, he said, in other words, not taking a bad penalty when the team has momentum, or getting a big save at the right time.

“I’m seeing sporadic moments of that and also moments where we’re falling back. It’s a work in progress.”

Last Saturday at The Q Centre, the Clippers took a 4-1 lead with three second-period goals that chased starting Victoria goalie Michael Stiliadis, then held off the Grizzlies in the third for the win.

Garrett Forster and newcomer Jake Emilio, with a late power-play goal, scored for Victoria in the third as the Grizzlies outshot Nanaimo 11-6.

The result was the fifth straight 4-3 decision the Grizzlies have been involved in, including a home win over Cowichan Valley on Oct. 8. Brett Gruber led the attack with two goals, while Dane Gibson scored once and set up both of Gruber’s goals.

The Grizzlies trailed 2-1 after one period, but scored the next three goals – the last was a shorthanded marker from Matthew Kennedy in the third – to take the lead for good. Sean Cleary picked up the win in net, making 23 saves.

The Grizzlies next home game is Wednesday, Oct. 22 (7 p.m.) against Nanaimo.

In the den … A pair of new acquisitions saw their first action with the Grizzlies on Saturday night against Nanaimo. Twenty-year-old defenceman Jake Emilio and first-year forward Ayden MacDonald, who turns 18 next week, came over in a trade from Vernon last week for Brandon Egli and Mitch Meek, who Knight said were moved to give them more opportunities.

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read