Victoria Grizzlies get blue-line boost from Oliver with busy weekend on tap

The Victoria Grizzlies might be wondering if they have been mistaken for a baseball team.

Three-games-in-three-days might be normal on the diamond but it is a grind in a sport as physical and fast as hockey.

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This weekend marks the Grizzlies’ third such stretch in the young B.C. Hockey League season.

“We’re getting used to it,” said Grizzlies GM and head coach Craig Didmon.

“The first two of our three-in-threes were on the road so at least we don’t have the bus kilometres this time to worry about. And really, there are no excuses. Wenatchee, who we meet on Sunday, will also be playing its third game in as many days, and they are doing it all on the road.”

Before that Sunday matinée against the Wild (6-4-2) at The Q Centre, the Grizzlies are at The Stick tonight in Duncan to face the Island Division-leading Cowichan Valley Capitals (10-4-2) and meet the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (7-8) on Saturday night at The Q Centre.

The game tonight in Duncan follows up the encouraging 4-3 overtime win by the Island Division bottom-dwelling Grizzlies (5-9) over the Capitals on Wednesday at The Q Centre.

“We are young, so that was a good maturity moment for us, to knock off the top team in our division,” said Didmon.

Returning to the Victoria lineup tonight is six-foot-one defenceman Chace Oliver, who played the first three games for the Grizzlies, before having to clear up some eligibility issues. The younger brother of Kaid Oliver, who led the Victoria Royals in scoring last season in the Western Hockey League, will be a welcome addition.

“Having Chace back this weekend is a huge boost for us,” said Didmon.

“He plays with a real edge, and has a good offensive eye, as well. He is an all-round blue-liner. There is NCAA interest and he is keeping his options open as to which school he will pick. This is also his draft year and pro scouts have talked to me about him.”

Out for the weekend, however, is injured forward and Grizzlies’ captain Marty Westhaver, who also missed Wednesday’s game.

LOOSE PUCKS: The Merritt Centennials, in last place overall in the BCHL at 2-10, fired GM and head coach Barry Wolff this week. Assistant coach Derek Sweet-Coulter will act as head coach on an interim basis.

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