The Grizzlies, the Island Division’s second ranked side, showed their superiority over the Silverbacks in BCHL action on Saturday evening at the Shaw Centre.
Tyler Welsh, the game’s first star struck twice and added a helper in the Grizzlies 4-2 victory over the ’Backs.
“Coming into the game we knew what to look for in Salmon Arm’s system to take advantage of the game and I think we did that very well,” said Grizzlies captain Cody Van Lierop.
Victoria capitalized on the Silverbacks numerous errors, scoring three of their goals off of turnovers in and around the ’Backs blueline.
“Turnovers and passing has been a real concern for us, it’s one factor that cost us the game tonight. We will have to make that our main focus moving forward,” said Silverbacks head coach Brandon West.
Connor Sundquist got the ’Backs off to a bright start, scoring the opening goal of the game on a breakaway, thanks to an interception by Carson Bolduc at centre ice.
Bolduc intercepted an outlet pass by the Grizzlies’ Jake Stevens then fed Elijiah Barriga who sent in the streaking Sundquist, who slipped the puck through Tony Rehm’s five-hole for his eighth of the season.
“We got off to a slow start, it might have been the bus legs after the long trip, but we came together in the end to get the win,” said Van Lierop.
Welsh scored his first of the contest, shorthanded, off of a Salmon Arm turnover at the blueline just before the end of the first frame.
Victoria grabbed a hold of the lead early in the second, when Nathan Looysen buried a feed from Cole Pickup and Welsh.
Salmon Arm failed to create any chances in the middle frame, as they spent a majority of the time hemmed in their own zone by the relentless Grizzlies offence.
“They outworked us in our own zone and because of that we didn’t generate enough chances,” said West.
With Bolduc given a five minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing, the Grizzlies took advantage of the prolonged powerplay scoring their third unanswered goal, opening up a two goal lead, early in the final period.
Jared Turcotte scored his fifth of the season midway through the frame cutting the lead to one, but any hopes of a Salmon Arm comeback were quickly extinguished by Welsh’s second of the evening.
“We didn’t play a full 60,” said Bolduc. “Mistakes cost us. We need to get back to basics and start supporting each other.”
The ’Backs lost on Friday night to the Smokies, in Trail by the same 4-2 scoreline, and the inconsistency of play continues.
“Too many nights we are a group where only half the team is engaged. We don’t have super stars that we can rely on to get the job done every night. We need the guys to buy into the system and contribute where they are needed,” said West.
Goaltending continues to be an issue for the ’Backs as well. Brandon Kegler and Trevin Kozlowski both made starts over the weekend in losing efforts.
“Both of them have been told they will earn their starts and keep the net when they show that they deserve it. Right now we are not naming a starter,” West said.
The Silverbacks will host the Warriors on Wednesday evening at the Shaw Centre.
In three contests this year the ’Backs hold a perfect record over the defending national champions.