If the Revelstoke Grizzlies needed any extra ammunition to wrap up their series against the Kamloops Storm, they got it from the Storm’s head coach Tyler Liebel.
“We’re going to go down to Revelstoke, get game five, and we’ll be back here for game six (on Thursday),” he told the Kamloops Daily News after game four.
The only thing standing in his way was a dominating, series clinching 10-4 victory by the Grizzlies Wednesday night at home.
“We were aware of the comments they made and we discussed those,” said associate head coach Randy Quakenbush We felt we didn’t want to give them the opportunity to make their wishes come true.”
The game started off with the teams trading goals within the first five minutes. Kevin Leschuk got the Storm on the board first before Dylan Rota tied it up for the Grizzlies.
After that it was all Revelstoke. First, Brandon Perger tapped in a cross-ice pass from Brendan Urban for a power play goal. Forty seconds later, Spencer Samuel scored on a rebound from a rush by Rota. Then, with one second left in the period, Garett Kemmler made it 4-1 with a power play goal.
The Grizzlies added four more goals in a dominating second period that saw them outshoot the Storm 31-4. Reid Blinkhorn got things going eight minutes in when he blasted home a slap shot from the point on a Grizzlies power play.
Three minutes later it was Bruce Silvera and Brooks Christensen teaming up on a 2-on-1 rush. Then, with just over two minutes left in the period, Devin Gelowitz scored his second of the playoffs and the Grizzlies four power play goal of the night when his pass deflected off a Storm defenseman into the net. To cap things off, the top line of Brad Friedrich, Brooks Christensen and Bruce Silvera combined to make it 8-1.
With the game out of reach, Revelstoke played a cautious third period, with the third and fourth lines seeing the bulk of the ice time and Garrett Rockafellow replacing Tory Caldwell in nets. Kamloops scored three goals in the period but Revelstoke got two of their own, with Blinkhorn and Samuel adding their second of the night each to make the final score 10-4.
The win gave the Grizzlies a 4-1 series win. Once again, the top line led the way with seven goals in the series, however the third line of Rota, Samuel and Devon Hascarl also chipped in, combining for six goals and 18 points.
“We used to go out and get some hits, get the team going but lately we’ve been making some good plays to put the puck the net,” said Hascarl on his lines success. “Our line has stepped it up this whole playoff.”
The Grizzlies now face the Osoyoos Coyotes for the Okanagan/Shuswap Conference title and a spot in the KIJHL finals.
Revelstoke won the first two regular season games between the two teams 4-3 and 3-0 but Osoyoos won the last two, including a 10-1 thumping in January.
“The last game was probably our poorest game of the year and we played a good team and the score was an indication of how we played,” said Quakenbush. “We know we’re a better team than that. We’re expecting a real good series, a tough series and the end result will be the best team will succeed in that series.”
Hascarl, for one, is eager to face Osoyoos. “I would love to beat Osoyoos,” he said. “I think this is the series I’ve been secretly waiting for. I’m excited; everyone’s excited to play this team. This is probably our biggest rival.”
The Coyotes are coming off back-to-back sweeps of the Penticton Lakers and Kelowna Chiefs respectively. Revelstoke goes in relatively healthy, with only defenseman Garrett Holt out with a day-to-day injury.
“We’ve got a lot of bumps and bruises but we’re ready to play through that,” said Quakenbush.
The series against Osoyoos begins Sunday in Osoyoos. Game two is set for Monday before the series comes to Revelstoke for games three and four next Wednesday and Thursday.