Four out of six points in a three-game weekend would be a satisfying result on most occasions. That is only if you didn’t ruin a chance at a perfect weekend by blowing 4-2 leads in back-to-back games.
That was the case for the Revelstoke Grizzlies, who tied the Kelowna Chiefs and Chase Heat 4-4 on Friday and Saturday respectively, before salvaging their weekend with a 4-2 win over the Kamloops Storm on Sunday.
“If we didn’t play Sunday I would have been absolutely livid right now,” said coach Kevin Kraus after the weekend. “We’re lucky enough that we played Sunday and we got the win and we held the lead for once. You have to take some positives out of it.”
On Friday the Grizzlies took a 4-2 lead thanks to a pair of goals by Spencer Samuel and markers from TJ Christensen and Dylan Ossman. Their scoring helped Revelstoke rally from an a 2-0 deficit and hold a two goal lead into the final four minutes.
Then, the wheels fell off. Nick Josephs got the Chiefs within one with a power play goal with 3:45 to go. He followed that up with a short handed goal with 91 seconds left in the game to tie it up.
Overtime solved nothing and Revelstoke returned home with only one point.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies met a similar fate at home against the Chase Heat. After leaving the first period up 1-0, Revelstoke seemed to have the momentum, scoring three times in the final five minutes of the second period. First, Christensen wacked home a rebound, then Brayden Beckley scored on a breakaway, followed by Austin Donalson, who was set up in front by Tyler Reay on a two-on-one.
Once again, a 4-2 lead wasn’t enough. At 12:19 of the third period, Chad Wilde deflected a point shot over the glove of goaltender Conrad McMillan to make it 4-2.
Then, with two minutes left, Ossman shot the puck over the glass from the defensive zone, sending him to the box. Chase pulled its goalie to go up by two skaters. With 29 seconds left, a point shot by Dominick Hodges eluded a screened McMillan to send the game into overtime, which resolved nothing.
“We sat back and let them have a couple of chances,” Kraus said. “If you sit back and let teams get shot after shot after shot, one of them is going to go in eventually.”
On Sunday, Revelstoke travelled down Highway 1 to salvage its weekend against the Kamloops Storm. Beckley scored twice, Devon Hascarl scored short handed and Donaldson also scored to give Revelstoke a 4-2 lead. This time though, they would hold on for the win. Aaron Brandoli made 38 saves to help seal the victory.
“We did play very well, we just didn’t handle our leads very well on the weekend,” Kraus said.
The win gave the Grizzlies 26 points – two points behind the Storm but with three games in hand. The North Okanagan Knights are first in the division with 33 points and the Sicamous Eagles sit in second place with 31 points.
This weekend the Grizzlies enjoy a mini homestand, hosting the Kamloops Storm on Friday and the Princeton Posse on Saturday. Both games are at 7 p.m.
Kraus said he was happy the way his forward group was coming together and he praised both goalies for their recent work. He is hoping some of the injured defensemen return to the lineup for next weekend.
“I’m going to beat into them how important it is to keep leads, especially in the third period,” he said. “Every two points is crucial so I want to leave every game with us getting two points and them getting zero, not giving up one point and only getting one point.”
There were 384 fans at Saturday’s game, and he hopes the strong support continues.