De­pleted Griz­zlies claw Cap­i­tals

Times Colonist - - Sports - CLEVE DHEENSAW


With seven top play­ers miss­ing, no­body would have faulted the Vic­to­ria Griz­zlies if they would have rather dug a hole through the cen­tre cir­cle to go ice fish­ing rather than play hockey.

The Griz­zlies, how­ever, have taken the chal­lenge this month presents as a point of pride. Vic­to­ria, trail­ing 3-1 en­ter­ing the third pe­riod, ral­lied with four unan­swered goals as they de­feated the Cowichan Val­ley Cap­i­tals 5-3 in B.C. Hockey League ac­tion Fri­day night at The Q Cen­tre.

Marty Westhaver scored from an acute an­gle at 15:36 of the third pe­riod for the win­ning goal and Ryan Nolan sealed the come­back into the empty net goal for his sec­ond goal of the night.

“We got one, and then the next one, and it kept rolling,” said home­town-prod­uct Westhaver, who like, Nolan, has 12 goals.

“It shows the char­ac­ter of this group,” said Chicago-prod­uct Nolan, named the game’s first star.

“It’s full of heart. I’m proud of all the guys tonight for step­ping up.”

Of note were Kyle Dumba for his 47 saves in goal for Vic­to­ria and the jet-fast Eddy Yan, who was dis­rup­tive all night in the Cap­i­tals zone and named the game sec­ond star.

“That was a gutsy dis­play by all the play­ers,” said Vic­to­ria GM and head coach Craig Did­mon.

“The play­ers showed why they are on this team. Given the op­por­tu­nity, they flour­ished and shone.”

The Griz­zlies were miss­ing pro­jected first-round 2019 NHL draft Alex Ne­whook, 2018 New York Rangers draft pick Ri­ley Hughes, 2019 NHL draft-pro­jected Alex Camp­bell and de­fence­men Carter Berger and Jeremie Bucheler to the World Junior A Chal­lenge begin­ning Sun­day in Bon­nyville, Alta. For­ward Cam Thomp­son and goal­tender Kur­tis Chap­man, mean­while, are out with in­jury.

The loss moved the Is­land Divi­sion-lead­ing Griz­zlies to 21-10-1.

Nolan opened scor­ing just 2:09 into the game be­fore Luc Wil­son tied it for the Cap­i­tals at 9:06. NCAA Lake Su­pe­rior State-bound Niko Es­pos­ito-Se­li­v­anov gave Cowichan the lead by swing­ing out un­chal­lenged from be­hind the net at 7:33 of the sec­ond pe­riod. Paul Sel­leck turned that into a two-goal lead for the Caps at 18:36. Vic­to­ria tied it 3-3 in the third pe­riod on power-play goals by Dar­win Lako­duk at 1:08 and Lach Hadley at 7:15. They were the third goals of the sea­son for both play­ers as they took ad­van­tage of their added power-play min­utes, as did Henri Schreifels, who as­sisted on both goals. The Cap­i­tals fell to 8-19-5. The Griz­zlies host the Sal­mon Arm Sil­ver­backs (15-12-3 fol­low­ing Fri­day night’s 3-2 vic­tory in Pow­ell River) tonight on Teddy Bear Toss Night at The Q Cen­tre.


Griz­zlies winger Ryan Nolan breaks around Cap­i­tals de­fence­man David Me­laragni on Fri­day at The Q Cen­tre.

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