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Bulldogs clamp down on Victoria Grizzlies

Alberni beats Victoria 4-0

The Victoria Grizzlies didn’t have a whole lot to play for ­Friday night in Port Alberni, and it showed.

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs treated a near-sellout crowd of 1,791 at the Alberni Valley Multiplex to a rather easy 4-0 victory over the Grizzlies in what was the final regular-season game for the home team.

The Bulldogs (31-19-3-1), looking to lock down third place in the B.C. Hockey League’s Coastal Conference and home ice in the first round, did just that and now await their first-round opponent that will either be the Grizzlies or Chilliwack Chiefs.

The Grizzlies (26-19-5-3) are in fifth place in the conference and they’ll stay there with a victory over the Nanaimo Clippers tonight at The Q Centre and a loss by sixth-place Chilliwack in one of their final two games tonight against the Cowichan Valley Capitals or Sunday against the Langley Rivermen. If the Grizzlies finish in fifth, they’ll move on to a first-round playoff series with the Coquitlam Express. If the Grizzlies drop to sixth place they would open the playoffs against the Bulldogs in Alberni.

On Friday, the Bulldogs took 1-0 lead into the first intermission but it could have been worse for the Grizzlies if not for the outstanding play of rookie goaltender Oliver Auyeung-Ashton. Alberni outshot Victoria 22-6 in the first 20 minutes and didn’t let up. The Bulldogs blew it open in the middle frame with three straight goals from Brandon Buhr, Will Elger and Matt Kursonis.

Grizzlies head coach Rylan Ferster gave Auyeung-Ashton a mercy pull after two periods as the 17-year-old faced 44 shots. Gus Holt started the third period and stopped all seven shots.

Veteran nerminder Hobie Hedquist picked up the shutout making 32 saves.

The Grizzlies were without Owen Bohn and his 47 points, as well as rookie forward Jacksenn Hungle. Both were injured during last weekend’s road trip.