It was a visibly disappointed Kevin Kraus who emerged from the Revelstoke Grizzlies dressing room on Saturday following a 6-4 loss to the North Okanagan Knights. He came out after 10 minutes with the door closed.
“We’ve got to stop being so damn inconsistent. It’s from practice to practice, from period to period, from game to game, we can be a totally different hockey team,” the team’s coach said. “We can be a great hockey team or we can be a terrible hockey team. They have to decide which one they want to be and they have to be that way in practice and in games.”
It was an all-too typical weekend for the Grizzlies. On Friday, they produced a stellar effort, scoring six times in the second period in a 7-4 win over the division leading Sicamous Eagles. Then, on Saturday, they flopped against the Knights, giving up four goals in just over five minutes in the 6-4 loss.
“We didn’t make it hard on them. We tied it up in the second period and we took a selfish penalty. I think that was the turning point of the game,” said Kraus. “It weighs on them because we were on such a momentum run there and that just drains it and they score on the power play and we’re back to chasing the puck around and pulling it out of our own net.”
On Friday, the Grizzlies started slow, falling behind 3-0 in the first period. However, a goal by Austin Donaldson sparked the team, and they came to close to scoring twice more before the period was out.
The second period was all Revelstoke, with goals coming in rapid succession from Donaldson, Tyler Reay, Brayden Beckley, Riley Creighton, Reay again and, finally, Donaldson once more to complete the hat trick.
“We had a talk in between periods and we came out and everyone decided to go,” said Kraus. “We didn’t stop skating, we went to the net hard and we put pucks on net and they went in.”
Sicamous got one goal back in the third period for a 7-4 final score.
On Saturday, Revelstoke once again found themselves behind early, with the Knights scoring twice in the first half of the opening period. A goal by captain Darnel St. Pierre got Revelstoke within one and Donaldson tied the game with a power play goal three minutes into the second.
However, with Kent Hendrickson sitting in the penalty box for slashing, Brett Hawrys scored to make it 3-2 Knights. North Okanagan got three more goals before the period was over to give the Knights a 6-4 lead. TJ Christensen scored early in the third for the Grizzlies and Jordan Furlane got a power play goal with five second left to make the score close.
“A lot of guys, I could have charged 10 bucks tonight for admission,” said Kraus. “They just watched the hockey game from the bench and most of them watched it from the ice.”
This coming weekend the Grizzlies host the Kamloops Storm and Summerland Steam on Friday and Saturday respectively, and then travel to Sicamous to play the Eagles on Sunday afternoon. Kraus said he hopes the team can put together a winning streak and make a run for the top of the division and home ice advantage in the playoffs. The Grizzlies currently sit 10 points back of the Eagles for second and 13 points behind the Knights for first.
“We need 20 guys to show up every day,” Kraus said. “We’re not the most skilled team but one thing you can dictate is work ethic. Work ethic outweighs skill most nights and I’d like to see more heart and desire out of some of my guys.”