The Nanaimo Clippers have been charging up the B.C. Hockey League standings in recent weeks, but the Victoria Grizzlies stopped them in their tracks on Friday night.
The Clippers had four wins in their previous five games going into Friday’s contest at Frank Crane Arena and climbed to within four points of the second-place Grizzlies in the Coastal Conference. But playing one of their most complete games of the season, the Grizzlies took the wind out of the Clippers’ sails, knocking off Nanaimo 5-1.
Charlie Gollob, Chase Pirtle, with his league-best 14th of the season, and Nathan King all scored in the second period as the Grizzlies improved to 15-8-0 on the season, keeping pace with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs who beat Cowichan Valley 10-1 to also move to 15-8-0. The Surrey Eagles lead the Coastal Conference at 16-4-0.
The Clippers (11-9-2-0) countered Gollub’s opener with a Luc Bass power-play marker midway through the middle period, but Grizzlies netminder Oliver Auyeung-Ashton shut the door the rest of the way.
King, who’s NCAA committed to Merrimack College, added his second of the night in the third period, and Malcolm Green added a shorthanded marker, late in the third to round out the scoring for Victoria, who outshot Nanaimo 35-22.
Grizzlies newcomer Elliot Dutil, picked up in a trade with the Chilliwack Chiefs earlier in the week, got his first point in Victoria colours when he set up King for his first of two on the night.
The Grizzlies return home to host their annual Teddy Bear Toss game tonight when the Cranbrook Bucks pay a visit to The Q Centre.