Jake Stevens showed why he was voted winner of the Top Defenceman Award this season as he notched the first three goals of the game for the Victoria Grizzlies en route to a 4-2 win over the visiting Nanaimo Clippers that puts Victoria into the Island finals against Powell River.
Opening the scoring 5:23 into the first, Stevens was just getting warmed up. In the second, he added a power-play tally and got the winner on his hat-trick goal shorthanded to make it 3-0 Grizz going to the third.
In the final frame, Jake Harris got Nanaimo on the board and they got within one on a Spencer Hewson power-play goal. They pulled Evan DeBrouwer in favour of an extra attacker in the final minute but couldn’t find the tying goal despite outshooting Victoria 17-6 in the third period. Jamie Rome sealed the deal for the Grizzlies with an empty-netter with four seconds left. Victoria will host Powell River in Game 1 of Round 2 starting Friday, March 17.
The Prince George Spruce Kings have forced the top-seeded team in the playoffs into a Game 6 Sunday in Wenatchee after a 3-1 home win over the Wild. Kyle Johnson and Ben Brar scored 1:06 apart in the opening frame to give PG all the goals they’d need. Dakota Raabe got the Wild on the board midway through the second but it was the only puck to beat Tavin Grant on the night as he made 30 saves for the win. Jarod Hovde completed the scoring on an empty-net goal with a little over a minute to go.
A five-goal second period for the Langley Rivermen allowed the to come from behind and defeat the host Chilliwack Chiefs 6-4 and send their series to a Game 6 Saturday in Langley. Ben Fanjoy, Justin Dixson and Linden Hora all scored for the Chiefs in the first putting them up three heading to the second. Ryan Barrow and Cam Ginnetti replied for Langley inside two minutes into the second and after Kohen Olischefski got the fourth and final Chiefs goal, Langley got markers from Sean Gulka, McKay Flanagan and Gulka again to take the lead. Max Kaufman added an empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation.
A three-goal first period and three more in the third was a winning formula for the Trail Smoke Eaters in a 7-4 home win that clinched their series over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The ‘Backs jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Elijiah Barriga and Jared Turcotte but the Smokies replied with goals from Ross Armour, Braeden Tuck and Luke Santerno on the power-play to take the lead. Connor Brown-Maloski made it a two-goal Trail edge in the second briefly before Austin Chorney got one back for Salmon Arm. Brown-Maloski’s second of the game was the winner early in the third. Barriga got a second for Salmon Arm but Trail tacked on goals by Blaine Caton and Mitch Barker (empty net) to secure the win. Carter Cochrane added two more assists from the blueline and now leads all playoff scorers with 11 point. Trail will face Vernon in Round 2.