The Revelstoke Grizzlies have crawled out the KIJHL basement after splitting their weekend games.
Revelstoke thumped the Columbia Valley Rockies 6-1 on Friday before falling 3-2 to the 100 Mile House Wranglers on Saturday.
On Friday, Kyler Wilkinson led the Grizzlies to a 3-0 nothing lead after the first period, chasing Rockies’ goaltender, former Grizzly Conrad McMillan from the net.
Kyler Wilkinson opened the scoring after bouncing in a puck off McMillan nine minutes into the game. Four minutes later Wilkinson set up Kohl Bell in front. Finally, in the final minute, Wilkinson scored on a nice individual effort, deking out the defence and going five-hole for his second goal.
Tre Mason added to the Grizzlies lead in the second period with a high wrist shot from near the goal line. Kent Hendrickson made it 5-0 five minutes later.
The Rockies got on the board in the third period when Mitchell Rosko put one past Aaron Brandoli, but Brodie Buhler would capitalize on a miscue by Rockies goaltender to cement the 6-1 win.
“For the first time all year we finally had some puck luck,” said coach Darren Naylor, who also credited Brandoli for his strong play early on. “Brandoli held us in the first five minutes, they came out pretty hard on us. Brandy was really good and allowed us to get going.”
On Saturday, the Grizzlies hosted the Wranglers. A poor first period saw Revelstoke fall behind early when Darcy Flaherty and Connor Sloan scored for 100 Mile House. Revelstoke’s new goalie Matthew Mitchell was peppered with 20 shots in the period.
The second period was scoreless, but Michael Lynch scored in the first minute of the third period to make it 3-0 Wranglers. Devon Hascarl and Hendrickson score late goals for Revelstoke to make it close, but they were unable to complete the comeback, falling 3-2.
Naylor said if the team started the game with the same urgency it showed in the third period, the result could have been different.
“For some reason we’re having a hard time on second games on weekend where we’re coming out flat, not ready to go,” he said. “I think what they do after the first game, I think they go home and stay up too late…
“It’s not conditioning. We probably practice as hard as any team. We go two hours hard every day. It’s not a conditioning thing, it’s a get to bed type thing.”
The Grizzlies made a number of moves over the week. Aiden Silzer-Hooker was dealt to the Kamloops Storm for defenceman Steindor Igason. Naylor also acquired 19-year-old defenseman Ethan Larson from Princeton.
He said both players should help strengthen the defence going forward.
He also added two local players. Chevy Hantula is returning to the squad and Jay Adam, a former Revelstoke Minor Hockey product, is attempting a return to competitive hockey after taking a few years off for personal reasons.
“Hopefully hockey can help him out a bit,” Naylor said. “I’m cheering for him.”
This weekend the Grizzlies play one game, hosting the Creston Valley Thunder Cats on Friday. “We only have one game this weekend so there’s no reason not to go out and give it our all,” said Naylor.