Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ goaltender Connor LaCouvee thwarts Victoria Grizzlies’ Myles Fitzgerald on a third-period scoring attempt

Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ goaltender Connor LaCouvee thwarts Victoria Grizzlies’ Myles Fitzgerald on a third-period scoring attempt

BCHL PLAYOFFS: Grizzlies force Game 7 vs. Alberni Valley Bulldogs

The Victoria Grizzlies beat the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 3–1 on Tuesday to tie up their BCHL semi-final series.

The Victoria Grizzlies have forced the Alberni Valley Bulldogs into a Game 7 of their B.C. Hockey League semi-final playoff series after winning 3–1 on Tuesday in Port Alberni.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride here the last few days, having the opportunity to close out Victoria, being up 3-1,” Bulldogs’ head coach and general manager Kevin Willison said. “They’re a determined team and they don’t quit. We have to learn what got us here the last six weeks. We’re a team that had our backs against the wall.” The Bulldogs needed to win their last game of the season to make the playoffs, and had to work to get to that point, he added.

The Bulldogs were up 3-1 in their playoff series with Victoria, but the Grizzlies won 9-2 on Monday in Victoria to pull within one game. They tied the series on Tuesday.

Grizzlies’ Jaden Schmeisser opened up scoring at 7:34 of the first period with a power play marker. The Bulldogs tied it up at 9:43 of the second period with a goal from Kurt Gosselin, however Mark McLellan scored Victoria’s game winner at 18:30 from Brandon Egli, and Jesse Schwartz added the insurance marker at 19:17.

The third period was scoreless, but filled with penalties — including bench minors for both the Grizzlies and the Bulldogs for too many men on the ice.

Bulldogs’ captain Tryg Strand could be suspended for the next two playoff games—Game 7 on Wednesday and the opening game of the Island Division final on Friday (March 14) against Powell River if the Bulldogs make it through. Strand was handed a five-minute major and a game misconduct for checking from behind at 16:15 of the third period.

A check from behind penalty carries an automatic two-game suspension; Willison said the team will appeal. “To me it didn’t look like an intentional from behind. It looked like the other guy stopped and Strand kept going. Strand’s a big boy.”

“It could be pretty tough” without the team captain, he acknowledged.

“Tomorrow night’s going to be a challenge for us.”

The games have gotten chippy between the Bulldogs and Grizzlies, and Willison said he has cautioned his team to be disciplined. “Victoria is known for embellishing high sticks or elbows,” he said. “We’ve always told our guys, don’t get too close to them because they embellish it all the time. They suck you in…you get caught once in a while with a two-minute minor.

“The team that has the most discipline and works the hardest usually comes out on top.”

Willison gave a nod to goaltender Connor LaCouvee, who earned his third BCHL Player of the Week title last week. The 19-year-old from Qualicum Beach posted a 1.51 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage as the Bulldogs went up 3-1 in their playoff series. He was named first star in games two, three and four and up until then had faced 156 shots and allowed just six goals.

“He’s the reason we’re here today,” Willison said following the Bulldogs’ loss on Tuesday. “We have to sometimes hit some homeruns for him…so he can relax. He’s handled the pressure really well coming down the stretch.

“He’s a young goaltender that has come in here and done an unbelievable job. We give him the opportunity to play each and every night and he’s been stellar.”

The Bulldogs travel to Victoria on Wednesday for Game 7. Puck drop is 7:15 p.m. at the Q Centre (formerly Bear Mountain Arena). Catch the action on 93.3 PEAK FM or live streaming at www.bchl.ca (look for the broadcast links under Scoreboard).

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
B.C. teen who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Dry Creek Park will be closed all week as city parks crews remove hazardous trees and prepare the site for a new disc golf course. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni’s second disc golf course on the way at Dry Creek Park

Dry Creek Park will be closed for development for a week beginning June 21

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Bernadette Jordan addresses the media following a swearing in ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on January 14, 2019. Jordan says the government will provide $2 million to allow First Nations to continue to strengthen the marine safety system across Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
First Nations receive federal funds to purchase marine rescue boats

Quatsino, Heiltsuk, and Kitasoo First Nation’s among eight across Canada to receive funding

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read