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Game Day: Capitals Back in Action to Host Grizzlies

After a 13-day layoff during the holidays, the Caps will begin the unofficial start to the second half tonight when they host the Victoria Grizzlies at the Island Savings Centre.

Tonight will be the sixth meeting of the season between these division rivals; they met five times in the first six weeks of the season, but haven’t squared off since Oct 15 when they played to a 3-3 tie at the Island Savings Centre.

The Capitals (19-14-2-2, 3rd Island) have been rolling in recent games, as they won five of six games before the holiday break, including three in a row. Their most recent game was a 4-2 victory at home on Dec 17, over the Prince George Spruce Kings.

On what was the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game that night, Jared Domin scored on a breakaway early in the first period to open the scoring. George Sennott doubled the Caps’ lead less than two minutes later, but the Spruce Kings would score later in the first and again midway through the second to tie the game. The Caps would quickly regain their lead just over two minutes later, however, when Ty Pochipinski received an early Christmas present courtesy of the end boards at the Big Stick. Pochipinski’s fifth goal of the year would stand as his second game-winner of the season; Justin Perron would score his second of the year in the third period to add some insurance, receiving an early Christmas present himself with a dump in that bounced off the stanchion. Caps goalie Adam Marcoux earned first star honors on the night, making 29 stops to win his his fourth straight start.

The Grizzlies (23-6-3-4, 1st Island), who finished fifth in the division a year ago, will tonight look to equal their entire win output from the 2015-16 campaign. With 53 points to date, Victoria is third in the overall BCHL standings and have one more point than the 52 they had all of last season.

Like the Capitals, the Grizzlies also concluded their pre-holiday schedule with a win over Prince George, a 6-2 decision on Dec 18. In that game, Victoria received goals from Marty Westhaver, Jamie Rome and Cole Pickup in the opening period. Pickup’s 15th goal at 19:45 of the first would stand as the game-winner, as the Grizzlies added goals from Cameron Thompson and two more from Rome in the third period. Rome picked up his first career BCHL hat trick and third multi-goal game, and would add an assist on the afternoon.

Tonight’s game is the Grizzlies first of five straight on the road for Victoria coming out of the break, where they are 9-2-2-3 so far this season. The Capitals tonight are playing their first of three straight divisional games; they’ll be in Port Alberni on Jan 4 and in Nanaimo on Jan 6. Following tonight’s game at home, where the Caps are 9-7-1-2 this season, they’ll play five of six games on the road to begin the 2017 calendar year.

The Capitals are 1-2-1-1 in the season series so far, while the Grizzlies sit 3-1-0-1. Puck drop at the Island Savings Centre tonight is at 7:00 pm.

Who’s Hot:

Capitals: Lane Michasiw is coming off his first shutout of the season in his past start, a 38-save effort on Dec 14, and has stopped 75 of 76 shots in his past two games… Adam Marcoux has won four straight starts, and has stopped 183 of 195 shots in his past five games… Jared Domin has points in three straight, and in nine of his past 10 games…. Captain Chris Harpur has points in four of his past five games, while Trevor Ayre has five points in his past five games….

Grizzlies: Leading-scorer Cole Pickup has points in six straight, and has three goals and seven assists in that time, while Jamie Rome has points in three straight games, and has five goals and two assists in that span… Goalie Tony Rehm has won five of his past six starts, and in his past two outings has stopped 72 of 76 shots.

Need to Know: Ayden MacDonald tonight is serving the second of a four-game suspension; he’ll be eligible to return on Jan 8 vs. Coquitlam…

Did You Know?: The Capitals have allowed just three goals in their past three games… The Caps are 9-6-1-2 against the Island Division to date this year; they were 13-16-2-1 last season… Ty Pochipinski scored his first career powerplay in Cowichan’s last game on Dec 17… Jared Domin scored his sixth first period goal on Dec 17, tying him with Max Newton for the team-lead in first period tallies… Justin Perron‘s third period goal on Dec 17 was his first at home this year…

Game notes provided by Colton Davies of 89.7 Juice FM.