They say that home is where the heart is and it’s also where the Victoria Grizzlies are racking up valuable points.
On Friday, the league-leading B.C. Hockey League club improved its record at Bear Mountain Arena to a solid 14-4-0-1 courtesy of a 4-2 victory over the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
They did it without Turner Lawson, Kade Pilton and Keyler Bruce in the lineup as they continue to sit out lengthy suspensions, served immediately. Stefan Nicholishen, Pearce Eviston and Blake Thompson’s suspensions are, apparently, at the team’s discretion as to when they sit out their one-game absences.
Thompson ended up with three assists on the night.
“We are scoreboard watching, even though there are 16 games to go,” said Grizzlies general manager and head coach Bill Bestwick. “We’ve worked real hard to earn our status and we don’t want to give it up for any reason at all.
“We need to work hard, especially at home, and people are gunning for us, too. It doesn’t get easier, so we have to keep our pace up high.”
Off to a scoreless, sluggish start 13 minutes into the game, there were just six shots on net, four for the hosts. That’s when David Mazurek buried a nifty backhand for a 1-0 Grizzlies’ lead at 13:47 of the opening frame, which brought life to the game.
Victoria took a 10-3 shots advantage into the first intermission.
Eviston swiped a backhand by Capitals’ goaltender Patrick Spano for a 2-0 lead 6:10 into the second period before a bad turnover led to Hayden-James Berra’s goal just over 11 minutes later for the Capitals.
Gerry Fitzgerald got that one back for Victoria at 4:07 of the third before Kyle Horsman cut into the two-goal lead at 11:21. Myles Fitzgerald ended the scoring on a Victoria power play at 13:51.
Mazurek finished with a goal and an assist for the Grizzlies, who improve to 27-9-0-4 overall. Goaltender Brady Rouleau earned the win for Victoria.
The Grizzlies are back home on Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. against Vernon.
In the den: The Grizzlies lost the services of Nicholishen to a bad gash on his calf ... . Playoff dates have come out, if Victoria tops the Coastal Conference it would host March 15, 16 and 20 in an opening round five-game series. In Round 2 (also best-of-five) they would be at home March 22, 23 and 27 and, if they advance to the finals, a best-of-seven is slated with March 29, 30, April 5 and 7 home dates.
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