GAME DAY: COWICHAN VALLEY AT VICTORIA, 7: 15 P.M.
Chris Albertini knows how to make an entrance.
He did so with a bang recently, finally joining the Victoria Grizzlies' roster and immediately getting involved on the physical side of the game as he took a run at an unsuspecting Trail opponent on his very first shift. He later pounded Braeden Jones in a fight after he had came to the defence of another Albertini target.
The next night, Albertini challenged Clippers captain Trevor Fitzgerald to a scrap and helped turn the tide in Nanaimo, making his physical presence felt for the second straight evening.
The former member of the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers was back in the Victoria lineup for his second weekend of work as the Grizzlies won two of three games on the most recent road trip which included victories in Penticton and Merritt.
"I was excited," Albertini said of his first outing. "I had been waiting a long time, a couple of weeks to get cleared to play. I was expecting things to happen, made a few good hits."
The six-foot-three, 210-pounder didn't waste any time getting involved and wasn't afraid to jump up into the play either, often taking chances in the offensive zone. It was his physical play that stood out the most.
"It's a part of my style of play, growing up as a rough, physical player and I haven't out-grown that yet," said the 19-year-old native of Hampton, Ont., who will be in the lineup tonight when the Grizzlies play host to rival Cowichan Valley at 7: 15 p.m. at Bear Mountan Arena.
He certainly got after it his second night in Nanaimo. Down 2-1 he fought Fitzgerald, the Clippers' captain, and the Grizzlies responded with a goal shortly after to tie it 2-2 before pulling out a 3-2 win.
"I wasn't really having my best game and it wasn't looking too good for us at the time," said Albertini. "I thought I would ask someone to fight and get a little spark on the bench."
In five appearances now - he was named the second star in last Saturday's 3-2 win in Penticton - Albertini has not got on the scoreboard, but he's scored some points on his coaching staff's card.
"He's looked good from what he's shown," said Grizzlies associate coach and assistant general manager Craig Didmon. "He's a tough character. He creates room for himself.
"Anytime you fight the other team's captain in their arena it becomes a bit of a marquee matchup. It changed the tone of the game," Didmon said of the trip into Nanaimo.
IN THE DEN: Defenceman Nolan DeJong was named to Team Canada West for the upcoming World Jr. A Challenge in Yarmouth, N.S. His Grizzlies' teammates, Dante Hahn and Mike Stiliadis, will be back in the lineup tonight vs. Cowichan after their tryouts. Hahn will compete in the CJHL Propsects game in N.S.
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