By Tony Burrows:
Tonight the Victoria Grizzlies laid a resounding whupping on the Prince George Spruce Kings.
This is the first game PG has lost in their own arena “The Castle” Congratulations Grizz!
After the disappointing game in West Kelowna last night the Grizz bus headed for Prince George in a big snowstorm. They drove all night and arrived in PG about 7.30 am in -20 temperatures. They had a quick meal at Tim Hortons and went to the Ramada and slept 'till about 3pm when they got up and had a dinner then wandered across the road to the arena. It seems to be a trend that our Grizz play better when they are exhausted than fresh! The Spruce Kings did not play the night before so were fresh.
I know that I am not supposed to demean referees, but would you think a normal referee would keep one team in the penalty box for almost entirely a whole first period and only give one penalty to the other team? This was a very frustrating start to the game and Brady Rouleau was the star of that first period. The Grizz only got a few shots on net but they certainly did make them count! During the first period on the second penalty to the Grizz PG scored on the power-play. At 8.38 during a brief 5 on 5 Myles Powell scored from Mark McLellan and Chase Kaiser evening things up. Shortly the Grizz are given another penalty and this resulted in another power play goal against us by PG's Mitch Eden.
At 16.40 of the first period the only penalty was called against P.G. And at 18.25 Myles Fitzgerald with assist from Blake Thompson and DJ Jones put the puck behind PG goalie Kirk Thompson. But at 19.39 referee Jim Storey was hard at work again trying to make life as miserable as possible for the Grizzlies by giving Blake Thompson a call for roughing? With having so very little time to play at full strength our Grizzlies did very well to come out of the first period tied 2 apiece. This was entirely due to the great play by our Grizz special teams.
At 3.27 of the second period the dynamite line of Blake Thompson, DJ Jones and Myles Powell scored our first go ahead goal making it 3 to 2 Victoria. Then something odd happened. The Spruce Kings ejected their #1 goalie Kirk Thompson from net after allowing 3 goals, and replaced him with their backup Liam McLeod. It did not take long for our Grizz to beat Liam! At 4.06 David Mazurek scored from DJ Jones. Making the score 4 to 2 Victoria. ( Now I want you to remember that this is the second period, and Victoria has had a dismal record for second periods almost throughout the season) . And before the end of the second period our intrepid Grizzlies scored to make the score 5 to 2 when at 15.40 Stefan Nicholishen scored from Garrett Skrbich and Myles Powell. Now how's that?? We OWNED that period. Three unanswered goals in the SECOND Period. Maybe the curse has been lifted!
And now for a very chippy and rough third period. PG was not happy at being down 5 to 2 and showed it by becoming very frustrated. Lots of slashing, roughing and some fighting and referee Jim Storey now had no choice but to start giving some penalties to PG also! At 8.59 Victoria opened the third period scoring when Chase Kaiser scored from DJ Jones and Zach Urban. This was followed shortly at 13.45 when Mark McLellan scored from Chris Albertini and Chase Kaiser. The flood gates were open now! This made the score a whopping 7 to 2 for Victoria! But in the end the Spruce Kings regained some of their dignity by scoring a late goal at 16.39.
Definitely a great showing for the Grizzlies beating a strong team that had not even lost one home game so far in their own “Castle”.
My Game thoughts:
:Way to go Chase Kaiser! Your second goal this year. You have been snake bitten so many times this season. This could easily have been your 10th goal. Hopefully now you will show what a great player you really are!
Congrats to DJ Jones on being named player of the game and earning No. 1 game star! And earning 4 points!
Congrats to all our special teams—you guys were ON FIRE tonight!
Brady Rouleau. You were absolutely terrific tonight! 39 out of 42 shots stopped in that tiny arena!
Nice to see goals being scored by lots of different players now! Tonight's goals by Myles Powell, Myles Fitzgerald, Blake Thompson, David Mazurek, Stefan Nicholishen, Chase Kaiser and Mark McLellan! How's that for spreading them out!
Our Grizzlies continue to amaze me! Great performance from a team “just thrown together” as Brett Hartskamp put it in his pre-game interview.
Congrats to Justin Coachman for just skating away from a fight. I know how much self control that must have taken. That's putting your team before your own satisfaction. No need to get suspended—we need you!