POWELL RIVER 5
It wasn’t the way they wanted to end the regular season, but the Victoria Grizzlies can finally move on to more pressing issues, like the B.C. Hockey League playoffs.
And it’ll either be a Wild ride or battle of the bears.
About an hour after the Grizzlies fell 5-1 to the Powell River Kings in a meaningless game for both teams at Hap Parker Arena on Saturday, the Wenatchee Wild (30-23-5) were beaten 4-3 in overtime by the Penticton Vees.
That opens the door for the Salmon Arm Silverbacks to finish third in the Interior Division and host the Grizzlies (24-33-1), the No. 1 wild-card seed, in the first round of the playoffs. For that to happen, the Silverbacks (29-23-5) must beat the last-place Merritt Centennials at home this afternoon. If the Silverbacks get anything less than two points today, the Grizzlies will open the playoffs next Friday night at the Town Toyota Centre in Wenatchee.
In Powell River, the Kings (29-23-6), who will finish third in the Island Division and open the playoffs at either Cowichan Valley or Nanaimo, needed just under three minutes to open the scoring as Michael Abgrall beat Liam Souliere from in close.
The Grizzlies got that back on a power play three minutes later when Brady MacDonald found Alex DiPaolo at the side of the net and he made no mistake, beating Thomas Wardle.
But Levi Glassman got his team-leading 22nd of the season with four minutes remaining in the opening period to send the home team on its way, much to the delight of the 885 fans in attendance.
Ethan Schmunk, Jack Long and Rowan Miller all beat Souliere in the third period as Powell River outshot Victoria 41-27.
LOOSE PUCKS: The Grizzlies rested forward Brendan Bowie and Bryce Anderson and defenceman Chace Oliver. … With Cowichan Valley’s loss to Alberni Valley on Saturday night, the Nanaimo Clippers can finish first in the Island Division with a victory in their regular-season finale today over Alberni.