The Alberni Valley Bulldogs won six straight games prior to the B.C. Hockey League all-star break, and Friday night at The Q Centre they picked up right where they left off.
The Bulldogs survived a furious third-period push by the home team to beat the Victoria Grizzlies 5-4 in ovetime to move within a point of fourth place Victoria (16-13-4-2) in the Coastal Conference. Alberni (17-15-21) has played one game more.
The Bulldogs, much to the disappointment of the 1,453 fans at The Q Centre, thought they had turned the tide in the second period, scoring a pair of goals and outshooting the Grizzlies 18-3 in the frame. The Grizzlies led 2-1 after one period after Devon deVries and Owen Bohn beat Hobie Hedquist to cancel out Cam Van Sickle’s opener just 3:45 into the game.
In the middle frame, Will Elger and Dakota MacIntosh beat a busy Oliver Auyeung-Ashton in the Grizzlies’ net.
But the Grizzlies owned the third period with Anthony Carone and Noah Leibel, in his first game back from injury, scoring to force the extra frame.
Hedquist, who’ll head to the NCAA and North Dakota in September, made 32 saves to pick up the victory. Auyeung-Ashton made 35 saves in a losing cause.
The game was the first of a home-and-home set between the two teams as they meet again Saturday night at the Alberni Valley Multiplex in Port Alberni.
After Saturday's game, the Grizzlies get a few days off before hosting the Powell River Kings on Friday night at The Q Centre.