With the Revelstoke Grizzlies’ players heading home for the holidays, coach Randy Quakenbush has a message for his team – don’t be complacent.
“We can be happy with where we are but have to recognize where we’re going and how much further we have yet to do,” he said. “You can be proud of what we’ve done but let’s not get thinking the journey’s over.”
With two wins in three games last week, the Grizzlies sit in second place in the Doug Birks division, seven points behind the Kamloops Storm but with four games in hand.
The team started off last week with a 4-2 loss to the North Okanagan Knights, a team hot on the Grizzlies’ tail in the standings. The teams scored twice each in the first period but a pair of turnovers late in the second period resulted in two quick goals by the Knights, giving them the win.
Quakenbush said the issue of turnovers was one he brought him during the game and afterwards.
“We reverted back to individualistic tactics,” he said. “That is one of the problems with young teams that have. When you get into a tough situation, some of the players revert back to trying to do too much by themselves rather than trusting their teammates and trusting what we do.”
However, he also took some responsibility for the loss, saying he did not manage the bench well. “I don’t think I used our players in the best possible way.”
The team rebounded from the loss on the weekend, defeating the Golden Rockets 7-3 at home on Saturday night and the Sicamous Eagles 4-3 on the road on Sunday afternoon.
Against Golden, Kyle Schwartz continued to rack up the goals, scoring twice and adding an assist. The Californian has scored 19 goals in as many games since joining the team.
On Sunday in Sicamous, Revelstoke was forced to come from behind in the third period after falling behind 2-1 after two. Tye Sanford scored the tying goal and Jordan Bledsoe scored the winner for the Grizzlies, who out shot the Eagles 44-26 in the game.
“Both games I thought we were the dominant team,” said Quakenbush, adding that a full-60 minute effort was not quite there but that the players got progressively better each game.
“As we so often do, we step up in the face of adversity, battled back and pulled out a win,” he said referring to Sunday’s game.
Forward Austin Donaldson missed both games on the week with a concussion. Quakenbush said it was precautionary that he sat out but he hopes the dynamic forward will recover over the break.
Revelstoke plays its first game of the new year on Jan. 7 against Sicamous. It’s first home game is Jan. 8 against the Kimberley Dynamiters. After that, the team will go through a stretch of nine games in 15 days the rest of the month.
Full practices resume on Jan. 3.