Playoff recap – March 6

Alex Newhook scored 15 seconds into the game and the Victoria Grizzlies never trailed on the way to a 3-2 road win over the Alberni Valley Bulldogs that clinched the series for Victoria four game to none.

Newhook’s tally on the first shift of the game was set up by fellow Newfoundlander Kyle McGrath who notched his fifth assist of the playoffs. There was no more scoring until almost the midway point of the second when Alberni Valley’s Michael Hodge scored unassisted to tie it 1-1.

In the final frame, Carter Berger restored the Grizz advantage and the insurance came in the form of an empty-net tally by Henri Schreifels. It turned out to be a vital tally as Alberni Valley got one back with 33 seconds to go from Keaton Mastrodonato but the Bulldogs were not able to force OT. Kurtis Chapman made 33 saves for the win while John Hawthorne stopped 39 in the final game of his Junior career. Victoria now awaits the winner of the Nanaimo-Powell River series.

A goal each period and 27 saves from Pierce Diamond was the winning formula for the surprising Cowichan Valley Capitals in a 3-0 victory over the visiting Penticton Vees that gives the Caps a 3-1 series lead. Paul Selleck opened the scoring in the first, Preston Brodziak made it a two-goal lead in the second and Vincent Millette potted an empty-netter with 3:23 to go. Diamond was again steady, making 13 saves in the first period but was called on to make just 14 more the rest of the game. Game 5 goes Saturday in Penticton.

In West Kelowna, Parm Dhaliwal scored twice including the overtime winner as the West Kelowna Warriors earned a 2-1 victory over the visiting Wenatchee Wild to even that series 2-2. Wenatchee’s Lucas Sowder scored unassisted in the first for the game’s only goal until Dhaliwal evened things up at 5:24 of the third. At the 11:39 mark of overtime, after gathering the puck and streaking down left wing, Dhaliwal was able muscle past the Wild defence and find a way to beat goalie Cal Sandquist for the deciding tally. Game 5 is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in West Kelowna.

Kent Johnson’s goal with 2:30 to go in regulation was the winner for the Trail Smoke Eaters as they downed the visiting Merritt Centennials 3-2 to take a 3-1 series lead on the Interior’s No. 2 seed. A shorthanded goal by Merritt’s Payton Matsui opened the scoring but Trail’s Max Kryski replied just over two minutes later to even the score heading to the second. Matthew Kopperud put the visitor up again early in the second but Braeden Tuck evened it again near the midway point of the game. It remained deadlocked until Johnson’s tally in the dying minutes. Game 5 of the series is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in Merritt.

Matt Kowalski supplied all the offence and Aidan Porter stopped all but one shot as the Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks by a 2-1 score for the second game in a row. Kowalski opened the scoring early in the first and supplied the winner on the power play at 5:56 of the second. Andy Stevens got the ‘Backs on the board late in the third but they couldn’t find the equalizer. The win gives the Vipers a 3-1 series edge with Game 5 set for Friday at 7 p.m. in Vernon.