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Grizzlies thrash the Rivermen

The Victoria Grizzlies came into Langley looking for redemption after a disappointing loss to the Coquitlam Express the night before.

The Grizz took part in a Sunday afternoon matinee against the Rivermen and looked like a completely different team. After a fairly even first twelve minutes, it was the Grizz who got the first goal. Brendan Bowie put home his third of the season after a nice setup by Bryce Anderson. Langley responded just a couple of minutes later thanks to their leading scorer. Brendan Budy did well to dangle past his man and beat goaltender Liam Soulière five-hole to tie the game 1-1.

The Rivermen took their first lead of the game at the 16:01 mark when defenceman Ryan Helliwell finished off a gorgeous three-way passing play to notch his eighth goal of the year. The Grizzlies then responded just over a minute later when Connor Eddy crashed the net and buried a loose puck to even up the score. Both Jake Veilleux and Kahlil Fontana got the helpers on the equalizing goal.

The Rivermen carried most of the play in the second period, however, it was the Grizz who scored the lone goal to take a 3-2 lead. Fontana scored his fourth of the season after taking a nice pass from Alex DiPaolo to put the Grizzlies in front. Victoria was outshot 19-6 in the middle frame, but Soulière was up to the task and stopped all nineteen shots.

In the third period, it was Victoria’s turn to dominate. After both teams exchanged penalties earlier in the period, Henri Schreifels added an insurance marker to help the Grizz to a 4-2 lead. Both Eddy and Fontana each picked up an assist on the play. Just 26 seconds after the goal, Eddy and Langley defenseman Will Dow-Kenny got into a spirited scrap. Both players were assessed fighting majors. Dow-Kenny was also given a two-minute instigating penalty and a game misconduct.

On the ensuing man advantage, Andrew Amousse buried his tenth of the season to help the Grizzlies bump their power play slump. The team hadn’t scored a power play goal in three straight games going into Sunday’s match-up. Vincent Nardone added another power play marker at 13:47, potting his ninth goal of the year to extend Victoria’s lead to 6-2. Fontana notched another goal just eight seconds later by simply throwing the puck towards the net from the blue line. The puck appeared to hit a Rivermen defender before finding its way through goaltender Braedon Fleming.

The Grizzlies closed out the final frame out shooting the Rivermen by a stunning margin of 26-3. Schreifels, DiPaolo, and Fontana all had multi-point games while Eddy put up a Gordie Howe hat-trick. Soulière was sharp in net once again making 31 saves on 33 shots.

These two teams will go at it once again on Tuesday night as Victoria looks to sweep the home and home series. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 pm at The Q Centre.

THREE STARS:

1st: Kahlil Fontana – 2 goals and 2 assists

2nd: Alex DiPaolo – 2 assists

3rd: Liam Soulière – 31 saves