The Revelstoke Grizzlies went 2-3 this week, with a 5-4 road win over the Penticton Lakers on Oct. 24, a 7-5 home win versus the Osoyoos Coyotes before they fell short in a comeback over Doug Birks Division leaders the North Okanagan Knights.
In Penticton, the Grizzlies spread the scoring around, with goals coming from Brodie Buhler, Devon Hascarl (first star), Kent Hendrickson (second star), Spencer Samuel and Dallas Flockhart.
TJ Christensen earned nine penalty minutes and a game misconduct for a tilt in the third period.
In their Friday night match at the Revelstoke Forum versus the Okanagan Division-leading Osoyoos Coyotes, the Grizzlies came out flat in the first, falling behind 3-1.
A scoring surge in the second put the Grizzlies on top, including two goals from Spencer Samuel and one from TJ Christensen, ending the period 4-3 in favour of the Grizzlies.
Spencer Samuel potted one more in the third, and teammates Jordan Holloway and Dayne Anderson also scored to make the lead 7-3.
The Coyotes rallied for two more, but fell two short for a 7-5 final.
Spencer Samuel earned a hat-trick and the first star.
On Saturday, the Grizzlies faced Doug Birks Division rivals the North Okanagan Knights, who now lead the entire league with 25 points.
The back-and-forth play was evenly matched for the first 10 minutes, with neither goalie facing many quality shots.
Dayne Anderson got the Grizzlies on the board with a power-play goal assisted by Tyler Reay.
Tyler Reay fed the puck to Spencer Samuel at 6:46 for the two-goal lead.
Braden Seyl menaced Knights attackers in the first, laying two of the biggest hits of the night in the first.
As the first wound down, the Knights started to display a solid ability for controlled play in the offensive zone, greatly increasing possession and good cycling.
Meanwhile, the Grizzlies lacked confidence in their own zone, badly blowing several clearing attempts.
After Grizzlies Jordan Holloway and Devon Hascarl crowded the penalty box with a hooking call each, the writing was on the wall for a NOK goal. The Knights easily cycled the puck to the net and Colton Thibault put one past Aaron Brandoli glove side.
In the second, Brandoli made a phenomenal diving save to deny the Knights some momentum, but the Grizzlies fell behind 4-3 before a Jordan Furlane goal tied it again.
The Knights continued to show cool and controlled play in the offensive zone, just waiting for the Grizzlies to slip up.
The Grizzlies obliged with two penalties late in the period, each followed by a goal. The scorers were Brett Hawrys and Mat Lambert.
The Grizzlies rallied to 5-4 early in the third when Dallas Flockhart put a saveable shot through Dustin Nikkel’s five-hole.
Heroics on the rush resulted in some close chances. Braden Seyl lost a horseshoe on a breakaway out of the penalty box.
Austin Donaldson led a phenomenal forecheck on the a shift change, lacing through three defenders behind the net before nearly getting one through the goalie’s legs.
With only 14 minutes of Grizzlies penalties resulting in three goals, the Grizzlies struggling penalty kill and lack of confidence building plays in their own zone were the difference in this game.
The Grizzlies are on the road this week, facing Chase on Nov. 2, Kamloops on Nov. 4 and Princeton on Nov. 9. They’ll get another shot at the North Okanagan Knights at their next home game on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.