The Victoria Grizzlies staved off elimination for the second straight night and will be moving on to the second round of the B.C. Hockey League playoffs.
Defencemen D.J. Jones and Jaden Schmeisser scored off point shots and captain Zach Urban — also a rearguard — collected the winner at 13:52 of overtime as the Grizzlies edged the Powell River Kings 3-2 in the fifth-and-deciding game of the Island Division semifinal series on Wednesday night.
The Grizzlies out-lasted the Kings at Bear Mountain Arena as both clubs were fatigued, playing their third game in three nights and fifth in six. They also experienced nine-hour travel days Wednesday returning from Powell River for Game 5.
“The boys came together as a group. It was a tough travel day, but we knew the boys would come out with the will to win,” said Grizzlies assistant general manager and associate coach Craig Didmon.
Victoria will face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs for the Island Division crown in a best-of-five series that begins on Friday at 7:15 p.m. at Bear Mountain Arena. Game 2 will go Sunday with a time yet to be determined.
The Bulldogs defeated the Nanaimo Clippers 2-1 on the road on Wednesday in their Game 5.
Alberni was down 2-0 in games in that comeback.
As if nine hours of travel wasn’t enough, the two went to extra time before an announced crowd of 1,180. That’s when Urban scored a peach, deking around a sprawled defenceman and stuffing it by Imoo.
Jones and Schmeisser both scored on point shots hat snuck through Kings goalie Jonah Imoo for 1-0 and 2-1 leads. But Teagan Waugh and J.P. Villeneuve both scored on backhands on Grizz goalie Brady Rouleau to tie it.
The two weary teams then went to overtime to cap a long day. Ferry cancellations forced travel issues for both clubs, who were forced to re-route via Sechelt to Horseshoe Bay and eventually Swartz Bay. Originally scheduled to arrive by 1 p.m. Wednesday, after playing Tuesday in Powell River, the teams made it to Bear Mountain by 5:18 p.m. after a trio of ferry rides.
The game began 21 minutes later than the scheduled 7:15 p.m. start.
Alarms were set for 7 a.m. for the Grizzlies at their Powell River hotel, who were then told about the weather issues.
“The playoff schedule is taxing itself, with all five games being played in six days, and the final three games in three consecutive nights,” Grizzlies general manager and head coach Bill Bestwick said earlier in the day.
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