Kenny Johnson couldn’t have picked a better time to score his first goal as a member of the Victoria Grizzlies.
Johnson, the 20-year-old defenceman picked up Thursday in a trade with the Penticton Vees, scored his first goal in just his second game for Victoria at the 6:18 mark of the second period Saturday in Wenatche that paved the way to a 3-1 victory for the Grizzlies over the Wild at the Town Toyota Center.
It was the Grizzlies franchise’s first win in Wenatchee. They were 0-3-1 in their only four visits to the Washington state-based club.
After losing in Langley on Friday night, that snapped a three-game winning streak, the Grizzlies came flying out the gate in Wenatchee and it only took captain Alex Newhook 40 seconds to open the scoring when he fired a high wrister from the slot past Wild netminder Austin Park. It was Newhook’s 22nd goal and B.C. Hockey League-leading 65th point of the season.
After Marko Reifenberger beat Grizzlies goaltender Kurtis Chapman just 1:15 into the second period on the power play to draw the Wild even, Johnson parked himself in front of the net on a Grizzlies’ power play and promptly took a nice feed from Ryan Nolan and slid it under Park.
Jordan Guiney rounded out the scoring with an empty-net goal with seven seconds remaining.
Chapman finshed with 33 saves to pick up his 19th win of the season, while Park took the loss, making 20 stops.
The victory keeps the Grizzlies atop the Island Division at 26-13-2-0, while the Wild drop to 25-15-2-0.
The Grizzlies now head north to Trail where they’ll take on the Smoke Eaters today a 3 p.m. Victoria’s stretch of six straight road games continues next weekend when they visit Powell River for a pair of games against the Kings.