The Revelstoke Grizzlies opened their season by splitting home games against the Chase Heat and Sicamous Eagles last weekend.
“On Friday night, I think we’ve got a lot of local kids this year and a lot of new faces. I think they were a little too excited to get going Friday night, came out and tried to be over physical and it cost us,” said coach Kevin Kraus. “Saturday’s game we stuck to our system. We played more simple hockey and tried to wear Sicamous down.”
Friday’s game opened with a few words from councillor Steve Bender, who thanked Lew Hendrickson for keeping the Grizzlies in town and joked the city would not be spray-painting ‘no street hockey’ signs on city streets.
Chase held the advantage through much of the first period, outshooting Revelstoke 17-5. The Grizzlies failed to muster many chances on two power play opportunities, and later ran into penalty trouble of their own, going down two men at the end of the frame.
They killed that off, but six minutes into the third, with Revelstoke called for too many men on the ice, Dominick Hodges got Chase on the board when he batted a puck out of mid air, past goaltender Conrad McMillan.
Not long after, the Grizzlies ran into more trouble when defenceman Tyler Bolduc got kicked out of the game for fighting Kaleb Carpenter. Not long after, Darnel St. Pierre got the boot for a hard hit on Cody Wiseman, leaving Revelstoke with only four defenceman.
“It hurt us. We had to play four D for half the game and those guys get tired out and can’t provide offensively,” said Kraus.
On the ensuing power play, Chase hit two cross bars in less than 10 seconds.
Then, with Revelstoke short handed, Spencer Samuel got sent in on a breakaway. He dangled Chase goaltender Jacob Mattes and slid the puck into the net on the backhand to tie the game.
Chase regained the lead when Nicholas Fidanza was left alone in front and fired a backhander past McMillan.
The third period saw Revelstoke come out strong, and stay out of the penalty box. Still, Fidanza scored his second of the night just over half way through the period to give the Heat a 3-1 lead.
Before the dust settled, Dylan Ossman got the goal back to make it 3-2. That was as close as Revelstoke would get, as Chase hung on for the win.
“We took too many penalties and gave Chase the best opportunity to win the game,” said Kraus.
Saturday saw the Grizzlies take on the Sicamous Eagles, in a high-flying game that Revelstoke won 4-3 in overtime.
Braden Seyl scored twice, including the game winner, and TJ Christensen had one goal and an assist in the win. Goaltender Aaron Brandoli stopped 50 shots, while Revelstoke fired 54 shots at his counterpart in the Eagles net.
“We played our hockey, simple hockey, chipped in a few goals and had a few let downs in the third that they capitalized in the back of our net,” said Kraus.
This weekend the Grizzlies head out on the road, with games against Chase on Friday and Sicamous on Saturday. On Tuesday, Revelstoke hosts the Kamloops Storm at the Forum.
Several new faces could be in the lineup, with two new forwards joining the team and defencemen Adam Pulliam and Andrew Standish – both members of last year’s team – possibly returning from Junior A.
Kraus said he will focus on a simple system as the team develops chemistry. “Going with hard fore checking, hard back checking, more simple than anything. Nothng too crazy, I don’t want to overwhelm them off the bat.”