The Kamloops Storm’s season is over and so is Ed Patterson’s second tenure as head coach of the Junior B club.
“I definitely think I’ve done my time here,” Patterson said. “I would like to move on to bigger and better coaching roles, if possible. I’ll have to wait and see what’s open.”
The Revelstoke Grizzlies bested the Storm 3-2 in double overtime at Memorial Arena on Friday to secure a 4-2 victory in the Round 1 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League series.
Kamloops was the better team and led 2-0 until sharp-shooting Grizzlies’ forward Owen Hart rattled the home team’s foundation with a power-play goal at the 14:34 mark of the third period.
The series still appeared destined for Game 7, but Revelstoke defenceman Nii No Tetteh scored with 1.5 seconds remaining in the third period, depositing a loose puck that squirted to him out of a scrum deep in the Storm’s zone.
Both goaltenders — Jordan Wilde for the Storm and Giovanni Sambrielaz for the Grizzlies — were the stars of the series and neither disappointed in Game 6.
Sambrielaz made 47 saves to pick up the victory.
Wilde, who made 39 saves in a losing effort, is certain he only allowed two goals, claiming in a post-game interview the Grizzlies’ overtime winner never went in.
“It hit the cross bar, then the back of my foot, then landed on my butt and went out,” said Wilde, who made 66 saves in the Storm’s 2-1 triple-overtime win in Game 4.
The goal judge turned on the goal light and quickly turned it off. One official made a late goal signal. Kamloops protested. Revelstoke celebrated.
There is no video review in the KIJHL, so the goal stood and the series was over.
Jayden Castle opened the scoring for Kamloops in the first period and Hayden Hirsch scored shorthanded early in the second frame to give his squad a 2-0 lead.
Hometown Revelstoke won 4-3 in overtime in Game 1 and 3-2 in double overtime in Game 2. When the Grizzlies shellacked the Storm 7-3 at Memorial Arena in Game 3, the series outcome seemed a foregone conclusion.
Wilde followed Game 4 heroics with a 27-save shutout performance in the Storm’s 1-0 triumph in Game 5 in Revelstoke on Thursday.
The Storm showed great resolve in coming back from a 3-0 deficit, but Patterson was not in the mood for speeches about holding heads high and being proud of stalwart effort.
His message centred on carelessness with the puck and what happens when poor decision making is habitual.
“It sucks to hear it when you’re feeling low, but Game 1 we had the lead, in control, but didn’t respect getting pucks in deep,” he said. “Sloppy turnovers. They tie it up.
“Game 2, same scenario. With four minutes left, we had a two-goal lead. Tonight, we don’t get a puck deep in the neutral zone. We mess around with it.
“It should never have gotten there [to overtime], but that’s been our problem all year,” Patterson continued. “With a young team, they don’t respect how important that puck is and taking care of it in certain areas of the ice.”
Kamloops, which started the campaign with about 20 rookies, finished the regular season with 41 points. Revelstoke had 73 points.
The Storm suffered three overtime defeats in the series and could well have staged a major Round 1 upset. That stings for the players, but not for the coach.
“For me, the toughest part to swallow is that I could never get through to this group on making sure they manage the puck better,” Patterson said. “Either you have the accountability and respect for how to win the game or you don’t.”
Patterson has had two stints with the local junior club — 2007 to 2009 and 2013 to present. He has led Kamloops to four league championship series and is a two-time Doug Birks Division coach of the year. The Storm have never missed the playoffs under his watch.
It is easy to find testimonials like this one from Wilde: “Ed is one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever had and he probably will be one of the greatest coaches I’ll ever have.”
Whether Patterson gets a chance to make his mark at the next level remains to be seen.