POWELL RIVER 5
They weathered the initial storm, but the Victoria Grizzlies eventually succumbed to wave after wave of Powell River Kings attacks on Saturday night at Hap Parker Arena.
In the B.C. Hockey League season opener for both teams, the Grizzlies jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
But the Kings, backed by the boisterous crowd of 1,210, refused to go away and, starting with a goal in the last minute of the second period by Matt Fawcett, scored five unanswered goals to beat the Grizzlies 5-3.
With 13 players back from last year’s team that knocked the Grizzlies out of the playoffs in the second round, the Kings, despite a slow start, picked up where they left off and outshot the Grizzlies 37-29.
After Marty Westhaver and New York Rangers draft pick Riley Hughes scored in the first period to give the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead, Ryan Nolan struck just 37 seconds into the second to give the Grizzlies what they thought was a commanding lead.
But Fawcett tallied with 25 seconds remaining in the second period to bring the Kings and their crowd to life.
And Fawcett wasn’t finished there. He tallied again, this time just 40 seconds into the third period to start the onslaught.
That was followed by a Liam Lytton goal at the seven-minute mark and a Mitchell Williams power-play marker at 12:43 that proved to be the game winner. Williams added an empty netter with 1.5 seconds left in the game.
It was a battle of 20-year-olds in goal, with Kurtis Chapman of the Grizzlies making 32 saves and Mitch Adamyk 26 for the Kings.
The Grizzlies now return home to get ready for a trip to Port Alberni on Friday to take on the Bulldogs, followed by their home opener on Saturday night when the Penticton Vees pay a visit to The Q Centre.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies were 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Kings were 1-for-6. ... Grizzlies newcomer Alex Campbell made the trip to Powell River, but the Quebec product was unable to play due to his paperwork with Hockey Canada still being sorted out. ... Following the home opener next Saturday, the Grizzlies will prepare for the annual Bauer BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack, where Victoria will face the Merritt Centennials on Sept. 20 and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks on Sept. 21.