A week that started on a low with a 4-2 loss to the Kamloops Storm ended on a high note as the Revelstoke Grizzlies swept their weekend games with wins over the Kelowna Chiefs and Summerland Steam.
The Grizzlies hosted the Storm last Tuesday, Sept. 25, but it was Kamloops who got off to the hot start, taking a 3-1 lead after the first period. Spencer Samuel got Revelstoke on the board first with a power play goal midway through the frame, but Kamloops took the lead with two power play goals of their own 40 seconds apart, and another in the final minute.
Kamloops scored again late in the second period, chasing Conrad McMillan from the Grizzlies’ net. Aaron Brandoli shut out Kamloops the rest of the way, but some undisciplined penalties and strong goaltending by Marcus Beesley in the Kamloops net kept Revelstoke from getting close. Austin Donaldson scored a late goal for the Grizzlies to make it a 4-2 final.
“I haven’t been happy with my team’s discipline yet this season and will be addressing it until it is resolved,” said coach Kevin Kraus. “I think we have to pick our spots when to make a big hit or when to just rub a guy off the puck.”
On Friday the Grizzlies hosted the Chiefs. The home side controlled the pace of the play for much of the game, staying out of the penalty box and capitalizing on their scoring chances.
Kelowna scored first when Quade Hamlin beat Brandoli six minutes into the first, but Dylan Ossman tied it up for Revelstoke with his team-leading fifth goal of the season six minutes later.
After a slow start to the second period, Darnel St. Pierre gave Revelstoke the lead when he fired home a centring pass from Samuel. Donaldson made it 3-1 Revelstoke with a minute to go after firing home a pass from Ossman.
The Grizzlies cracked down defensively in the third period, holding the Chiefs to only six shots. The calm was shattered with 50 seconds left when Mitchell Barker scored for Kelowna, but Tyler Reay cemented the win for Revelstoke with an empty netter in the dying seconds.
On Saturday the Grizzlies travelled to the Okanagan to face the Summerland Steam. Ossman and Samuel continued their hot starts, picking up one goal each, but it was local boy Kent Hendrickson who played the hero, scoring two goals only 28 seconds apart late in the third period to tie and then win the game for Revelstoke.
“I thought on Tuesday we played a very undisciplined hockey game and strayed away from the systems we have in place and gave Kamloops every opportunity to win the game,” said Kraus. “We worked a lot on our systems during the week and battling drills to get the boys understanding how hard you have to compete to win games in our league.”
Brandoli was in net for both weekend wins but Kraus said he hasn’t decided on a starter yet.
“I don’t think the team has played well in front of Conrad yet this year but I think Conrad has played well in every game. Brandoli has been everything we have asked him of as he has kept us in every game and it’s showing with his stats.”
This weekend the Grizzlies take on the North Okanagan Knights on Friday before hosting the Sicamous Eagles on Saturday. It will be Revelstoke’s third game of the year against Sicamous, but first against the division-leading Knights.
“I know that North OK is a very skilled team up front with a very good goaltender in [Dustin] Nikkel,” said Kraus. “We will have to play a physical but disciplined style of hockey against them and will have to take advantage of our special teams.”