The Revelstoke Grizzlies won two of out three games last week, a week that was marked by a line brawl in a heated game against arch-rivals the Kamloops Storm last Friday.
The week started off on a winning note for the Grizzlies, as they thumped the lowly Chase Heat 11-2 in front of only 225 fans Wednesday night. Kyle Schwartz sparked Revelstoke to a 2-0 lead with two goals around the mid-point of the period. Chase would come back to tie the game before the period was over but after that it was all Revelstoke. They outshot the Heat 45-12 the rest of the way, scoring nine goals in the process.
Schwartz would complete his hat trick in the third period while his linemate Devon Hascarl picked up a goal and four assists. Braeden Monk, Austin Donaldson and Tye Sanford also had three point nights.
The game of the week was Friday night’s tilt against the league-leading Kamloops Storm.
Revelstoke went into the game looking to keep up their success against Kamloops, having handed the Storm three of their four losses this season.
This time, Kamloops came out fast, taking advantage of a delay of game penalty to Revelstoke goalie Ethan Wood for staying on the ice too long after warm-up. Colten DeFrias scored 31 seconds into the game for the Storm. Then, 32 seconds later, Brett Dallen made it 2-0 Storm.
Kamloops added another goal to make 3-0 after one but Revelstoke fought back to get within a goal early in the second.
The teams traded goals late in the second period to end the frame 4-3 Kamloops. In the third period Revelstoke came up short on three power play chances before Kamloops scored twice, including an empty netter, to seal the victory. Braeden Monk scored twice for Revelstoke and Schwartz scored the other goal for Revelstoke, who outshot Kamloops 54-28 in the game, including 48-13 in the final two frames.
The game will be remembered for the brawl that ended the contest 43 seconds early and saw five players from each team kicked out the game.
“I think the end of the game is what people are talking about and it’s too bad because that’s not indicative of the game,” said Quakenbush. “How it ended was out of the blue and was a surprise to me.”
It started when Kamloops’ Chase McLeod came off the bench, skated right over to Revelstoke’s Austin Donaldson, and gave him a vicious two-handed slash across the ankle.
The slash didn’t seem to hurt Donaldson but it did send the gloves flying, with four fights breaking out at once. One fight saw Donaldson get taken down McLeod, who continued to beat on Donaldson while he was on the ice. That led Grizzlies captain Reid Blinkhorn to intervene; he grabbed McLeod, proceeded to drag him around while throwing several punches his away.
Meanwhile a stick and goalie helmet were thrown from the Kamloops’ bench.
Eventually the fights ended and the players began to skate off the ice. As they neared the other end, more fights broke out when McLeod, who had been escorted off, came back on the ice to go after Grizzlies’ goalie Ethan Wood, causing Riley Creighton to go after McLeod. Meanwhile, a Kamloops player picked up a helmet and threw it at the fans in the beer gardens, who were chanting “*Beep* you Kamloops”. They returned the helmet, hitting the player in the back.
The chaos caused the referee to end the game with 43 seconds left. As a result of the brawl, eight suspensions were handed out. For Revelstoke, Blinkhorn received five games, while Donaldson, Riley Creighton, Kent Hendrickson, Marc Letourneau and coach Randy Quakenbush each received three games. For Kamloops, Karan Toor received four games, Colten DeFrias and Scott Freberg got three games each, and coach Geoff Smith got one game. McLeod, who instigated the brawl with his slash and later came back on the ice after being escorted off, got only a one game suspension.
“He deserves five games and he deserves a match penalty,” said Quakenbush. “We got a total of 20 games, they got 12 games. I’m not happy about that and I’m talking to the league right now.”
He credited Blinkhorn with coming to the aid of his teammate Donaldson.
“I would expect any player on our team to come to the defence of another player,” he said. “If anything, this whole incident brings our group tighter beause it shows everybody on our team that we stand together and we will not let somebody physically harm one of our players.”
The two teams don’t play again until Feb. 4, 2012.
The suspensions, along with two players called up to Junior A and one at a funeral, meant Revelstoke had to go take on the surging Kelowna Chiefs with only 14 skaters Saturday night, including 15-year-old Brody Buhler and 17-year-old Cody Hendrickson. Despite the shortened bench, the Grizzlies came out on top, winning 4-3 in the double-overtime on a goal from Cole Sanford, his second of the night. Ethan Wood made 36 saves in net for Revelstoke to seal the win.
Quakenbush credited assistant coaches Kevin Kraus and Darren Komonoski with keeping the team together and leading them to a win.
This weekend the Grizzlies play back-to-back home games on Friday and Saturday against division rivals Sicamous Eagles and North Okanagan Knights respectively. The weekend will see the debut of forward Kellen MacBlaine, who was recently cut from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. “He’s a physical player who has a reputation for being strong on the forecheck and is very good on the penalty kill,” said Quakenbush.