A successful opening weekend also provided a valuable lesson to a young Grizzlies team according to coach Randy Quakenbush.
“We’re a young team that had some maturing to be done and I’m glad that it happened early in the season,” he said after the Grizzlies concluded its opening weekend with wins over the Chase Heat and Kamloops Storm sandwiching a loss to the North Okanagan Knights.
The maturation he was referring to was the team’s dismal opening period against the Knights on Saturday that saw them fall behind 4-0 after the first period en route to a 6-3 loss. Aside from that, the team did well, defeating Chase 5-2 at home on Friday and Kamloops 6-2 on the road on Sunday.
The Grizzlies started the season flying, scoring three goals in first period of the home opener against the Heat. “It was electric. Our guys were very excited,” said Quakenbush when asked about the atmosphere in the dressing room leading to the hot start.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing as the young team got into penalty trouble early in the second, allowing Chase to get within one before calming things down and restoring the three goal margin for a 5-2 win.
“Being a young group they got caught up in the emotions of the game and we just asked them to play the game and stay on the right side of the rules and keep themselves out of the box,” said Quakenbush.
Two Revelstoke minor hockey products were playing for the Heat – Derek Miskiman and Aiden Silzer-Hooker.
The opening night success translated into a over-confident group heading into game two against the Knights and they paid the price, falling behind 4-0 early. “That was a maturity thing,” said Quakenbush.
“A veteran group would know to be prepared for the next day. Our group just assumed that we won the first game that we would win every game. We didn’t show up prepared. We addressed that issue at the end of the first period and we won the next two periods 3-2.”
The team learned its lesson for game three, defeating the Kamloops Storm 6-2 behind three point nights by Devon Hascarl and rookie Cole Sanford.
“We came back to reality and realized we are a very skilled group but skill will not prevail unless they work hard,” said Quakenbush.
Defenceman Darnel St. Pierre leads the team in scoring after the opening three games, racking up three goals and two assists over the weekend. Hascarl also put up five points, while Jordan Bledsoe, Cole Sanford and Brendan Burge recorded four points each.
Revelstoke is back in action on Friday when they take on the Storm at home. The games starts at 7:30 p.m. The team then heads back on the road for games against the Sicamous Eagles and Chase on Saturday and Sunday.
Quakenbush said the team would spend the week working on its system and power play. “We think teams are going to take advantage of our youth and our size and we’re going to try to make them pay the price by scoring on the power play.”