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Grizzlies bite Eagles in OT to take series lead

Game 2 goes Saturday night in Surrey

The Victoria Grizzlie are at their stingiest, tight-checking best right now. Just ask the B.C. Hockey League regular-season-champion Surrey Eagles.

The Grizzlies and netminder Oliver Auyeung-Ashton stymied the league’s best offence in Game 1 of their Coastal Conference semifinal series, and Chase Pirtle played hero in overtime as the Grizzlies edged the Eagles 2-1 at South Surrey Arena.

Pirtle scored his team-leading sixth goal of the playoffs at the 9:13 mark of the first extra frame to allow the Grizzlies to draw first blood in the series. Game 2 goes tonight in Surrey before the series switches to The Q Centre in Colwood for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday.

The teams traded goals two minutes apart late in the second period with Charlie Gollob scoring for the Grizzlies and Aaron Schwartz for the host Eagles, who finished 29 points in front the the conference fourth-place Grizzlies in the regular season standings.

Auyeung-Ashton made 33 saves to improve to 5-1 in the post-season, while Ajeet Gundarah made 40 saves in the Eagles’ net.

In the other Coastal Conference series, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs defeated the Chilliwack Chiefs 3-1 in Game 1 in Chilliwack on Friday night.