The Victoria Grizlies began 2017 in the same manner that they ended 2016, with a win over a division rival.
The Island Division-leading Grizzlies surrendered the first goal a minute into the opening frame on Wednesday night in Nanaimo, but rebounded quickly on their way to a 6-2 win over the Clippers. The win was their second in as many games following the Christmas break, having beaten the Cowichan Valley Capitals by a 3-1 score on Dec. 30.
Clippers forward Matt Creamer opened the scoring a minute into the first period, but the Grizzlies responded with goals from Trevor Owens, Timothy Friedmann, Cole Pickup and a shorthanded penalty shot goal from Justin Michaelian before the opening frame was through.
After a scoreless second, Nathan Looysen extended the Grizzlies lead with a powerplay goal 1:28 into the third.
David Silye found the back of the net behind Grizzlies goaltender Matthew Galajda to get the Clippers to within three, but Pickup added his second minutes later to cap the scoring.
Galajda, in his second game back following his appearance at the World Junior A Challenge, made 27 saves for the win.
Pickup’s two goals earned him first star honours. Friedmann and Looysen also tallied multiple points for the Grizzlies, each contributing a goal and an assist.
The Grizzlies have a day off today before heading out on a three-game road swing over the weekend, with games against the Langley Rivermen, Wenatchee Wild and Surrey Eagles.
They’ll play their first home game of 2017 on Jan. 12.