|Reid Cooper finished with 20 saves Photo courtesy of Garrett James|
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The Grizzlies struck twice on the power play while the Express were blanked.
The Express had a second straight strong start. They outshot the Grizzlies early on opening up a 6-1 advantage. They were physical and controlling the play below the hashmarks in the Victoria zone.
A strong shift in the Victoria zone by Aiden Wagner, Hadyn Delorme and Jake Toor teamed up to open the scoring with Toor burying his own rebound after he was set up alone in front of the net for a 1-0 Express lead.
The Express had their opportunities to expand their lead with three powerplays in the first but were unable to capitalize in their chances.
In the second period Mitch Newsome hit the post and Will Lawrence was stopped in front of the net by Shawn Parkinson on more good scoring chances for the Express to add to their lead.
Midway through the second period the Grizzlies power play used their patience to tie the game. A smart dump and puck retrieval allowed the Victoria to set up in the Express zone.
|Troy Robillard - Photo courtesy of Garrett James|
This was a key point in the game that started to turn it in Victoria's favour.
Late in the period a two on one down low in the Express zone resulted in a goal by Ethan Nother giving Victoria a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Veteran Jamie Rome scored 18 seconds into the third period for a 3-1 Grizzlies lead.
That goal didn't dissuade the Express and they cut the deficit back to one after a good shift of patient puck control in the Grizzlies zone. Eventually the puck was worked to captain Alex Ambrosio who scored his first of the season on the backhand to cut the deficit to 3-2 with just under 14 minutes left.
Then the Express power play let them down again moments after the Ambrosio scored when they were unable to strike with Nico Somerville in the box.
As the final minutes ticked down the game started to open up as the Express pressed for the equalizer. Reid Cooper did all he could to keep the Express within one. His best same coming off Lucas Clark with just over 5 minutes to play.
|A. Ambrosio & J. Brien - Photo courtesy of Garrett James|
The Grizzlies only needed 20 seconds on the power play to convert restoring their two goal lead. Justin Michaelian potted a loose puck in front of the net to give Victoria a 4-2 lead. 16 year old rookie Alex Newhook picked up his third assist on the tally. The Grizzlies finished 2 for 5 on the power play.
In a fitting ending to the game the Express couldn't cut the deficit in the final moments of the game on their final power play of the game. The Express finished 0 for 6 on the power play.
The effort level was there for the Express but they just couldn't take advantage of their chances. The Express outshot Victoria 28-24. The loss now sees the Express winless in their first 5 games (0-4-1) to start the season.
Up next the Express are in Salmon Arm this Friday.