Warriors victim of Grizzlies' comeback

The Victoria Grizzlies got some semblance of revenge over the West Kelowna Warriors.

Victims of a furious Warriors comeback on their home ice three weeks ago, the Grizzlies turned the tables and mounted a comeback of their own in an 8-5 win Friday at Royal LePage Place.

Trailing 4-2 late in the second the Grizzlies reeled off four straight goals then added a pair of empty net markers to win going away.

Jesse Schwartz scored twice 24 seconds apart in the first 90 seconds of the third period to give the Grizzlies a 5-4 lead. They never looked back.

Myles Fitzgerald also had a pair of goals for the visitors.

David Pope with two, Jason Cotton, Braden Pears and Seb Lloyd scored for the Warriors.

"We give up two goals in the first minute and a half (of the third), it's just not characteristic of our hockey club," a dejected Rylan Ferster stated after the game.

"It just can't happen. I don't know if we had mentally checked out or not, I don't know. Then we make a foolish play on a power-play trying to throw a puck out when we should probably just freeze it. It seems like we just shot ourselves in the foot."

Ferster says Victoria is a good team that worked hard but says his team played too loose.

The Warriors built up a 2-1 lead in the first period on goals from Cotton (23rd) and Pope (20th).

Victoria got the equalizer on a power-play early in the second before the Warriors opened up a two goal lead.

Pears made it 3-2 when his shot from the point squeezed through the pads of Grizzlies starter Alec Dillon.

Pope doubled the lead a minute later when his wrist shot from the right circle went in and out of Dillon's glove and into the net.

Dillon, who allowed four goals on 21 shots was pulled after than goal in favour of backup Nic Renyard who allowed just one goals from Lloyd on 20 shots.

Brandon Egli's blast from the left faceoff circle past a surprised Cody Porter against the run of the play gave the Grizzlies some live.

The Warriors had chances late in the game to equalize, however, Renyard kept West Kelowna at bay. Two late empty net goals sealed the win.

As has been the case for much of the season special teams did not favour the Warriors.

Victoria scored twice on four chances with the man advantage while the Warriors went 0-3.

Despite the loss the Warriors were able to secure one of the four coveted Interior Division playoff spots. The Warriors clinched a playoff berth after Salmon Arm lost 5-1 in Surrey.

The Warriors also remain a point back of Penticton in the battle for top spot in the Interior as the Vees fell 2-1 at home to the Vernon Vipers.

West Kelowna will face the same Vipers Saturday in Vernon in the final regular season meeting between the Interior Division rivals.

The Vipers are five points back of the Warriors with five games left in the regular season. The Warriors and Vees both have six games left.


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