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Victoria Grizzlies hand Chiefs 4-2 loss

In a battle of BCHL division leaders, the Victoria Grizzlies doubled the Chilliwack Chiefs by a 4-2 count Friday night at Prospera Centre.

Marty Westhaver scored two goals for the top team in the Island division and Kurtis Chapman made 27 saves in the Victoria net.

A pair of Chilliwack natives replied for the Chiefs as Ethan Bowen and Brett Rylance lit the lamp.

Victoria led 2-0 through 20 minutes, and if not for Chilliwack goaltender Mathieu Caron it could have been four or five as the Grizzlies peppered his net with 21 pucks.

Westhaver opened the scoring at 12:16. Linemate Jeremie Bucheler pounced on a neutral zone turnover and fed the puck to Westhaver, who flew down the right wing and rifled a shot over Caron’s glove.

It looked like Chilliwack might escape to the first intermission with just a one-goal deficit, but Cameron Thompson had other ideas. A Chiefs skater turned the puck over in the slot and Thompson was left with a point-blank shot. Caron got a piece of it, but not enough as it went off him and off the base of the left post before drifting across the goal-line at 18:05.

Chilliwack regrouped between periods and turned the tables in the middle frame.

Two goals in 56 seconds got them even.

Bowen collected his sixth of the year at 13:34 when he sent a backhand pass into the goal-mouth. Intended for Harrison Blaisdell, the puck instead hit the skate of a Victoria defender, deflecting past Grizzly goalie Kurtis Chapman.

On the very next shift, it was Blaisdell putting a pass into the blue paint. Standing at the top of the crease with his back to the netminder, Rylance squeezed the puck through Chapman on the backhand for his first BCHL goal.

But Victoria had the last laugh in period two, regaining their lead on a shorthanded snipe by Westhaver.

Jarin Sutton saucered a perfect pass across the ice on a two-on-one rush and Westhaver ripped a shot inside the left post for his second of the night.

The visitors picked up the insurance goal with 6:19 to play in the final frame.

Defenceman Carter Berger sent a shot towards the net from the top of the left faceoff circle. The puck appeared to his Blaisdell in the goal mouth, changing direction and sneaking past Caron.

The goalie came to the bench with just under two minutes remaining, and the Chiefs had a couple near-misses around the Grizzly net.

But Victoria was able to escape to the final whistle with the win, improving to 11-6-0-1.

The Chiefs fell to 13-6-0-0.

The three stars were Westhaver (first), Rylance (second) and Caron (third).

The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chase Nameth.

The Chiefs are on the road tomorrow (Saturday) in Langley and return home Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., facing the Cowichan Valley Capitals.