The Victoria Grizzlies lost their focus and then the game on Tuesday night at The Q Centre in losing 6-0 to the visiting Chilliwack Chiefs.
The Chiefs now hold a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven B.C. Hockey League third round series.
After a promising opening 10 minutes that saw the Grizzlies fail to capitalize on multiple scoring chances, the Island champions got into penalty trouble and never recovered.
“I liked our first period. We seemed rattled at the (referee) after the first and it kinda took us,” said Grizzlies head coach Craig Didmon.
“I think they were worried about things they can’t control today and it cost them.”
The parade to the penalty box started when Lucas Clark was sent off for interference with 12:22 gone in the first and continued when Jake Stevens was given the gate for hooking late in the frame.
Chiefs forward Jordan Kawaguchi scored on the latter power play, his first of three on the night and the first of what would be three Chiefs power play goals.
Kohen Olischefski gave the visitors a two-goal cushion 2:58 into the second period, then Kawaguchi completed his hat trick with goals a little over two minutes apart near the midway point of the frame. The big night gave the undersized Abbotsford native 10 goals, 14 assists and 24 points in the playoffs, putting him first in all three categories.
Aaron O’Neill and Justin Dixon scored in the third period to complete the scoring.
The Chiefs finished 3 for 7 on the powerplay, while the Grizzlies failed to capitalize on their lone opportunity.
The frustration level among the 1095 in attendance steadily grew with each penalty call that went against the Grizzlies, and the crowd erupted with sarcastic applause when the Grizzlies finally got a power play chance in the third.
Didmon’s club finds itself in a familiar position, having trailed on three separate occasions in the team’s previous series against Powell River and again after Game 1 in this series.
“Again we put ourselves with (our) backs against the wall so tomorrow’s performance has to be perfect,” Didmon said.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday night at The Q Centre.
Game 5 will go on Friday in Chilliwack.