The Victoria Grizzlies’ offence finally came to life in the third period in Nanaimo on Friday night, but it was a little too late.
The Grizzlies continue to struggle to score goals and it came back to haunt them again Friday in Nanaimo as the host Clippers, in front of 2,100 fans at Frank Crane Arena, downed the visiting Grizzlies 5-3. The victory moved the Clippers (14-6-1-1) past idle Cowichan Valley into top spot in the Island Division.
Victoria (7-17) remains last in the Island Division and has now lost six straight games. In those six games, the Grizzlies have scored just nine goals.
After a scoreless opening period, the Clippers used a shorthanded penalty shot goal to get things started. Liam Ryan was hooked down while on a breakaway and awarded a penalty shot. He made no mistake against Grizzlies netminder Blake Wood to give the home team the lead.
Two goals by Tyler Williams in the second period sent the Clippers on their way. But a late-period goal by Grizzlies rookie Cody Monds gave Victoria some life going into the final 20 minutes.
That life looked to be snuffed out when Travis Walton beat Wood for his ninth goal of the season and a 4-1 Clippers’ lead five minutes into the third.
But the Grizzlies’ power play came to life late. Connor Eddy buried his first of the season with seven minutes left and Henri Schreifels tallied at even strength to get Victoria within one. Joshua Bourne added an empty-netter with 50 seconds left in regulation.
Wood finished with 29 saves, while Jordan Naylor stopped 26 Victoria shots.
Friday was the first of three straight games between the Grizzlies and Clippers. They’ll move to The Q Centre for the next two — tonight and then next Friday night.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were again without injured veterans Brady MacDonald and Eddie Yan.