Tonight – Victoria Grizzlies (25-13-0-2) at Wenatchee Wild (25-14-2-0)
7:05 p.m. at Town Toyota Center in Wenatchee
Presented by the BCIHL
This is the first meeting of the season between the two teams. Last season, they split the season series with one overtime win each.
Grizzlies forward Alex Newhook has points in five straight games since returning from the World Junior A Challenge. He has three goals and 11 assists over that stretch. Newhook is the BCHL’s leading scorer with 64 points and also is tops in the league with 43 assists, while teammate Alexander Campbell is 10th in league scoring with 47 points (15 goals, 32 assists) in 35 games. Carter Berger leads all BCHL blueliners in goals scored with 22 and is second in points with 43. He’s coming off his second Player of the Week performance where he scored seven goals and added one assist in four games. Grizzlies goalie Kurtis Chapman leads the BCHL with a .942 save percentage. He also has the second-best goals-against average at 2.26 and is tied for the league lead in shutouts with four.
Wenatchee’s Matt Gosiewski leads the team in scoring and is tied for 11th in the league with 44 points in 39 games. He also leads the Wild in goals with 24. Lucas Sowder is the team’s second-leading scorer with 36 points and Murphy Stratton ranks third with 35. Brandon Koch is tied for seventh among BCHL defencemen with 30 points (six goals, 24 assists) in 41 games and Chad Sasaki is 11th with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists). Wild goalie Cal Sandquist has 11 wins on the year and ranks fifth in the league with a 2.55 goals-against average.
What’s at Stake
The Grizzlies continue to lead the Island Division, but are only three points clear of the second-place Powell River Kings and eight up on the surging Nanaimo Clippers.
The Wild are in third place in the Interior Division, three points back of the co-leading Merritt Centennials and Penticton Vees. Wenatchee is also five points up on the fourth-place West Kelowna Warriors.
From the Broadcast Booth
Wenatchee Wild play-by-play broadcaster Arch Ecker on tonight’s matchup with the Grizzlies:
“They are a quality club that has an explosive offence and veteran leadership. As has been the case for the last few years, it will take a solid 60-minute effort to have success against them.”
Ecker on shutting down Victoria’s high-powered offence:
“If the Wild can play a strong puck possession game and keep the puck in the Grizzlies end consistently, that will help. They’ll also need to be responsible defensively and limit turnovers.”
Ecker on the Wild’s strong defensive play this year:
“Their penalty-kill units have done a good job at keeping opponents power plays in check and they’ve done a pretty good job at staying out of the penalty box. Keeping the special teams numbers under control goes a long way to keeping your overall numbers where they need to be to have success.”
Victoria Grizzlies play-by-play broadcaster Scott Didmon on facing the Wild:
“The Grizzlies have yet to find a way to win in their arena since the expansion. It’s a party-like atmosphere. The Wild move the puck well and have a great team pace that’s bound to catch you flat footed. Plus, they’re in the strong Interior Division night after night, which rises their level of play that much more.”
Didmon on Carter Berger’s huge offensive output of late:
“He is a hungry offensive defenceman who loves to get pucks at the net. His skating gets him in the right spots and his shot rarely misses the target. With 22 goals already, he’s clearly getting rewarded. The players feed him because they know he’s dangerous shift after shift. His strong work ethic in practice is paying off.”
ABOUT THE BCIHL
The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League was created with the purpose of offering a venue for competitive, high-calibre hockey that’s close to home for players beyond their junior careers. The league was launched in 2006 and now includes five member teams: Selkirk College, Simon Fraser University, Trinity Western University, the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island University. This season, 25 graduates with over 2750 games of BCHL experience are pursuing their academic and athletic goals in the BCIHL. To learn more about the BCIHL and playing opportunities for BCHL grads, visit BCIHL.ca.