Billed as the Fitzgerald triplets return home, the trio couldnt quite pull off their magic, but it wasnt for a lack of effort as the Victoria Grizzlies dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs at Weyerhaeuser Arena in Port Alberni on Saturday night.
In their fourth meeting of the season, the two teams have now gone to overtime in all four. This time the Bulldogs came through with their first head-to-head win, bouncing back from an early 2-0 deficit.
Leo Fitzgerald scored twice in the first 10:27 of the first period to give the Grizzlies the advantage.
Ryan Lough cut it to 2-1 late in the second before Qualicum Beach native Evan Tironese tied it in the third and then stuck the dagger in during overtime.
The Grizzlies earn a point to remain two points up on the Nanaimo Clippers and Bulldogs for first place in the B.C. Hockey Leagues Island Division.
Victoria has a game in hand on Nanaimo, which lost 5-2 to Powell River on Saturday, and three in hand on Alberni.
Gerry Fitzgerald had two assists in the outing, while Myles Fitzgerald added a helper as the triplets played in front of family and friends for the first time in over a year. Their former team, the Prince George Spruce Kings, did not make that trip last season.
They got us off to a good start, said Grizzlies general manager and head coach Bill Bestwick. Our urgency was less than necessary though, and we didnt play very intelligently when we needed to.
Going to overtime was no surprise to anyone who has seen these two teams play this season.
I said it from Day 1, these two teams are very evenly matched, said Bestwick, who watched his Grizzlies come back from a 3-1 deficit just over a week ago for a 5-4 double-OT win as Gerry tied it late and Myles won it in the extra session. From the net out, were a lot alike.
Grizzlies goaltender Mike Stiliadis stood tall on Saturday, making 28 saves including a penalty shot save on Chris Tracy early in the third before Tironese tied it.
He made some sensational saves tonight, Bestwick said.
The Grizzlies will return home to face Nanaimo on Friday at 7:15 p.m. before venturing to Cowichan Valley on Saturday and playing a third game in three days back at Bear Mountain Arena a week from today at 1:30 p.m. vs. Langley.
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