Devon Hascarl gets hit hard into the boards behind the Kelowna Chiefs net Saturday night. Moments later his linemate Spencer Samuel forced a turnover and scored a goal to put the Grizzlies up 3-0.

Grizzlies start off year with 2-1 stretch

It was a rough start to 2011 for the Revelstoke Grizzlies as the team blew a 3-1 lead last Friday, only to redeem themselves with a victories Saturday and Tuesday nights.

Friday night saw the Grizzlies blow the lead by giving up five goals in a row to the Storm. Riley Spraggs, Bruce Silvera and Brad Friedrich scored to put Revelstoke 3-1 up, however, a goal by Kamloops’ Logan Hawgood with three seconds left in the second period sparked the Storm, who scored four goals in the third period, including two on the power play and one empty-netter to win 6-3.

“I think we learned a valuable lesson as a young team. We played 54 minutes and you have to play 60,” said head coach and general manager Rylan Ferster. We had a couple of bad bounces and it was one of those games, where all of a sudden, bang, the game’s over, we lost and gave up four goals in the last six minutes.”

Revelstoke gave up four power play goals on seven opportunities in the loss.

Saturday night was a different story. After a scoreless first period, the Grizzlies erupted with goals by Spraggs, Brandon Perger and Spencer Samuel in the second and cruised to a 4-1 win over the Kelowna Chiefs. Friedrich scored an empty-netter late in the third period to seal the victory.

“I thought tonight we strung together a pretty good 60 minutes and only gave up one goal against, and it was unfortunate the way it went in,” said Ferster. “Wins are tough at this time of year and I thought we showed good resilience tonight and worked hard for the 60 minutes.”

On Tuesday, the Grizzlies rolled into Kamloops for a re-match against the Storm. This time Revelstoke showed the resilience need to win, scoring two third period goals in a 3-1 victory. Brendan Urban, Brooks Christensen and Devon Hascarl scored for the Grizzlies in the victory while goaltender Tory Caldwell made 24 saves in the win.

The Grizzlies lost three players over the past week. Dayton Martens, the only Revelstokian on the team, left for personal reasons, and Brendan Burge, the team’s leading scorer, signed with a Junior A team in Ontario.

Ferster said he had a long chat with Martens about his decision.

“He made a decision about life and we certainly commend him for that. He’s a good kid,” he said. “You lose a veteran, a guy who’s won a championship, a guy who wears a letter, a guy who has a physical presence like that, it’s difficult.”

Then, late Monday, after the carding deadline, Riley Spraggs left to join a Junior A team in Drumheller.

The Grizzlies made one move at the trade deadline, acquiring defenceman Lucas Hildebrand from the Grand Forks Border Bruins in exchange for future considerations.

“He’s a 6’3″, over 200-pound defenceman who can make some plays,” said Ferster. “We’re really excited to add him. He was a sought after guy. There was a bunch of teams who would have liked to have acquired his rights and we were fortunate enough to get him so we’re pretty excited.”

The Grizzlies currently have one open roster spot with which to add a player that is not carded by another team

“We can still add something now but it’s a different situation,” said Ferster. “I think you’re always looking when you have one card left, that goes without saying.”

The Grizzlies have this weekend off as the KIJHL is holding its All Star Game in Fernie. Six Grizzlies are taking part in the weekend festivities. Defenceman Colten Dahlen, winger Brandon Perger and goaltender Garrett Rockafellow will be playing in the rookie game while Christensen, Silvera and Reid Blinkhorn will be playing in the main game. Burge was scheduled to play as well.