Something had to give, and it wasn’t going to be the B.C. Hockey League’s top team.
The Victoria Grizzlies ventured into Poirier Sports Centre on Saturday night, winners of four straight games and five of their last six, but the league-leading Coquitlam Express just don’t lose on home ice.
The Express blew open a close game with three second-period goals to down the Grizzlies 6-3 and improve to 42-8-2 on the season and 26-2 on home ice.
Grizzlies blue-liner Jake Veilleux opened the scoring with a wrister from the point that found its way past former Grizzlies netminder Joe Howe in the Express net at the seven-minute mark of the first.
Connor Gregga got the Express even six minutes later as the teams went to the intermission all tied up.
But just 31 seconds into the second period, Danny Pearson beat Grizzlies rookie netminder Blake Wood to give the Express the momentum. Drew Cooper and Gabriel Parent gave the home team a 4-1 lead after 40 minutes.
James Davenport, who’ll move on to the NCAA and Northeastern University next fall, and Henri Schreifels, also bound for the NCAA with Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute, added third period goals for the Grizzlies but it wasn’t enough. Wyatt Head and Joshua Wildauer had the Express markers in the third.
Wood finished with 40 saves, while Howe, making his second start for the Express since being dealt by Victoria in early January, stopped 20 Grizzlies’ shots.
The Grizzlies (21-30-1) have little time to dwell on the loss as they move over to Langley this afternoon to face the Rivermen in the first of a home-and-home set with Langley. The Rivermen visit The Q Centre on Tuesday night.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were again without injured captain Marty Westhaver and veteran winger Eddie Yan, who is on his way back from the Division II B world junior championship in South Korea where he helped Team China win the bronze medal.