Sunday, February 23, 2014

Grizzlies 4 Eagles 3 (OT)

Jacob Kearley snapped home a game-winner 3:35 into overtime to give the Victoria Grizzlies a 4-3 victory over the Eagles in the provincial capital Sunday.

The Eagles fell behind early, but after a gutsy final fourty minutes of regulation forced overtime through a late tying goal from Danton Heinen, finishing the regular season with a point against the Island division-leading Grizzlies.

victoria shot out of the gate Sunday, taking a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes on goals from Cole Pickup and Jesse Schwartz and outshooting the Eagles 13-5. Surrey took four minor penalties in the opening frame, and six overall, but successfully killed all but one Victoria power-play in the game.

The intermission served Surrey well, as following the break the visitors found their legs, and got back to within a goal on a power-play of their own at the 9:42 mark. Matt Dawson's point shot found its way into the net through traffic and a screened goaltender Nic Renyard.

The Eagles nearly equalized while short-handed minutes later when Joe Drapluk broke in alone on Renyard and was hooked. Referee Adam Griffiths signaled for a penalty shot, but the Surrey forward was bested by the Victoria backstop from in tight.

The Eagles came into Sunday's game with the league's second-best power-play, and it clicked again 6:03 into the third. Kale Bennett rifled a laser beam off Renyard's right post and in to tie the game at 2-2.

But Victoria answered right back 7 seconds later. Kearley found forward Garrett Forster in the low slot, and the former Eagle re-directed a hard pass past Didur to put the Grizzlies back in front by one.

Surrey continued to pressure the hosts, pulling Didur for an extra attacker with nearly two full minutes left on the third-period clock. The move paid off as Nathan Renouf found Heinen in space just outside the Victoria crease with a crisp pass from the right corner. The Eagle captain made no mistake, converting his team-leading 29th goal of the season to force extra time.

Kearley, though, proved to be the hero, scoring his second goal in as many games against Surrey after converting on a pass from behind the goalline.

Didur made 30 saves in goal for Surrey in his third start in as many days.

Surrey finishes the regular season with a 25-30-1-2 overall record.

My Three Stars:
1. Jacob Kearley, Victoria
2. Kale Bennett, Surrey
3. Jesse Schwartz, Victoria

Up Next: The Eagles will now have nine days to prepare for their first-round playoff matchup with Langley. A full playoff schedule has yet to be announced but the post-season will begin Tuesday, March 4th.

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