BCHL playoffs: Grizzlies’ special teams sink Bulldogs in Game 1

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs fell short in their first BCHL semi-final game against Victoria, losing 3-2.

The Victoria Grizzlies’ special teams helped give Victoria a 3-2 win and a one-game lead in their B.C. Hockey League Coastal Conference semi-final series with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Friday night at Bear Mountain Arena.

Grizzlies’ Pearce Eviston scored a short-handed goal at 7:10 of the first period to go ahead 1-0, then Leo Fitzgerald scored on the power play at 12:15 to give the Grizzlies a 2-0 lead. It was a deficit the Bulldogs would never erase, despite Chase Van Allen putting Alberni on the scoreboard with an unassisted marker at 15:17.

Victoria went up 3-1 at 4:35 of the second period with a goal by David Walchuk. Bulldogs’ Evan Tironese brought them to within a point again with his goal at 12:16 of the third, but the effort fell short.

“We’re going to chalk this up to experience,” head coach Kevin Willison said in a post-game interview with 93.3 PEAK FM play-by-play commentator Evan Hammond.

Willison said the Bulldogs’ defence wasn’t strong tonight, although he gave credit to goaltender Jay Deo for making key saves.

“It always seemed we were second to the puck in our zone,” he said.

The Bulldogs have a chance to even up the series on Saturday when the teams come up to the Dawg Pound (Weyerhaeuser Arena). Game time is 7 p.m. The tailgate party starts at 5 p.m. outside the AV Multiplex.

ICE CHIPS...Tickets are still available for Saturday’s game at the Bulldogs’ office…In the other Coastal Conference series, the Surrey Eagles of the blanked the Chilliwack Chiefs 4-0 to take a one-game series lead in the Mainland Division.