Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ leftwinger Michael Hodge celebrates his unassisted goal at 9:58 of the second period, which tied the Bulldogs’ game against Victoria Grizzlies 1-1 on Wednesday, March 6 at Weyerhaeuser Arena in Port Alberni. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

BCHL: Season ends for Alberni Valley Bulldogs

Victoria Grizzlies take series 4–0 after final win in Port Alberni

The Victoria Grizzlies are headed to the next round of the BC Hockey League playoffs after defeating the Alberni Valley Bulldogs 4–0 in their best-of-seven opening series.

The Bulldogs came within a goal of extending their playoff season on Wednesday night in Port Alberni, losing 3–2 to Victoria.

Alex Newhook set the tone for the Grizzlies just 15 seconds into the game, converting a pass from Kyle McGrath into a goal. The Bulldogs ended the first period down 1-0 and behind 21-5 in shots on goal.

Michael Hodge evened the score with an unassisted goal off a funny bounce at 9:58 of the second period and it looked like a new game for the Bulldogs.

Victoria took a 2–1 lead at 3:17 of the third period though, when Carter Berger scored from Charlie Campbell and Ryan Nolan. They went ahead 3–1 on an empty-net goal by Henri Schreifels at 18:06.

The Bulldogs kept pressing for the next two minutes with goaltender John Hawthorne on the bench in favour of another attacker, and the strategy almost worked. Marcus Walker (from Aaron Bohlinger and Keaton Mastrodonato) drilled a goal with 33 seconds left, stopping fans in their tracks as many were already getting up to leave.

Although the Bulldogs had one solid scoring chance after the faceoff, Victoria closed out the game with a 3–2 win.

“We’re proud of how our guys competed. I don’t think there’s any ‘quit’ in our group,” Bulldogs’ head coach Matt Hughes said after the game.

“Victoria’s a very good hockey team. They’re a veteran group, but I thought they did a very good job and they earned everything they got.”

The Bulldogs had at least a dozen players on their roster who had never seen playoff hockey in the BCHL before this series, Hughes said.

“Last night we had a real good chance to win a hockey game (they lost 6–5 in overtime). Their power play took it over in the second period and we fought back. Tonight…we had our looks. It was not enough at the right times.”

Victoria head coach Craig Didmon gave the Bulldogs credit for their effort in the past two games. “Their goalie (John Hawthorne), he’s a real good goalie and he made it real tough for us. He really gave their team a chance to win tonight,” Didmon said following the game.

“I think it’s a good young team there. We had a few more veterans in our lineup that helped us down the stretch in this series.”

Didmon said the final two games of the series were a different picture than the first two games, in which the Grizzlies outscored the Bulldogs 13-3. “After they made some adjustments after Game 2 there wasn’t much room for anybody out there,” he said.

“I take my hat off to their team. Right to the bitter end they could have tied that up again late. We feel fortunate to be moving on.”

Hughes agreed that the series changed once the teams left Victoria. “That first game, we weren’t really involved at all (they lost 8–3). I think our guys were ‘oh boy, this is the playoffs, this is a whole new level,’” he said.

“The second game we competed harder, we just weren’t able to get any offence (they lost 5–0). I thought we stood around a lot and watched in the first two games.

“We really focused on our forecheck and getting bodies to the net” for Games 3 and 4, and that worked, generating more chances, he said. Just not enough to win.

While the Victoria Grizzlies will take a day off before heading back to practice, the Bulldogs will begin exit interviews with the players on Thursday so they can head home. The coaching staff will be busy scouting the remaining playoffs.

“For us, there really isn’t much of an off-season as a coaching staff. We’ll be off recruiting next week and getting the team ready for next year.”

editor@albernivalleynews.com

 

As the Alberni Valley Bulldogs hockey players gather on the ice at Weyerhaeuser Arena to shake hands with Victoria Grizzlies, having lost their BCHL playoff series 4–0 to Victoria, fans let the team know how they feel. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Alberni Valley Multiplex user groups wait for ice to return

Minor hockey, figure skating programs postponed and cancelled

Technical Safety BC says Alberni Valley Multiplex chiller safe to operate

Few conditions left for city to meet before making ice

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs drop a close game in Parksville

Spruce Kings come back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3

Student volunteers will be talking recycling at your doorstep

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District is conducting a survey of homes

Teacher says student was ‘happy’ to watch smudging ceremony at Port Alberni school

B.C. Supreme Court in Nanaimo hearing case over indigenous cultural practice in classroom

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Security guard at Kamloops music festival gets three years for sexually assaulting concertgoer

Shawn Christopher Gray walked the woman home after she became seperated from her friends, court heard

Cowichan Milk Company: from grass to glass, bottled milk right to your door

Farm stand open 6 days a week, and home delivery is available everywhere from Mill Bay to Chemainus.

Most Read