Contributed by Jarrett Spannier
The Junior Grizzlies Atoms hit the ice in Clearwater on Mar. 11 in quest of a playoff championship banner. The 9 to 11-year-old boys were coming off a roller coaster season and entered the tournament with a fifth place ranking. The Atom Jr. Grizzlies entered the tournament with high hopes. Coach Jarrett Spannier said the team’s abilities as a team did not reflect their season record.
The Junior Grizzlies opened the tournament with a 5-2 victory over Merritt and clinched first place in their pool with a 8-5 win over the league leading North Okanagan Knights. The Grizzlies then lost their third match against Clearwater.
The first place position earned them a semi-final match against the Pee-Wee girls teams from Clearwater. The semi-final game was one of the boys’ best team efforts of the entire year as they held the older, and much larger girls team to minimal offensive chances and won the game 6-3.
The Junior Grizzlies met tournament favourite Chase in the finals. Chase opened the scoring at the 28 second mark of the first period.
Grizzlies team captain Ray Speerbrecker evened the score at 10:21 with he tipped in a Conner Templeton shot from the point.
Chase came back with another goal just two minutes later and held the 2-1 lead through the second period. Jeremy Scarcella tied the game at the 4:03 mark of the third. The goal ignited the other boys. Rory Christie-Hoyle and Matt Cadden tallied quickly to give Revelstoke a 4-2 lead. Chase added a lone marker on a 5-on-3 power-play but the gritty Revelstoke team held on for the last six minutes to earn the championship.
The Atom Junior Grizzlies put it all together when it counted! Backed by solid goaltending by Noah Newsome and Spencer Spannier, the team responded with non-selfish play as was evident in the fact that all 12 skaters hit the score sheet in some way over the five-game tournament.
Captain Ray Speerbrecker lead all scorers with a 10 points, Ryland Grimm and Rory Christie-Hoyle had six points each and Matt Cadden and Hayden Mallett four points each. Tyson Marsh, Cam McKenzie and Conner Templeton notched two points each while Rylan Bokis, Tyler Hill, Rider McCallum and Jeremy Scarcella each got one point. Congratulations to all the players for an outstanding weekend to end their season!