The Revelstoke Grizzlies came close to salvaging a disappointing week. Then they let it slip away.
The Grizzlies lost 5-3 to the Fernie Ghostriders on Saturday at the Forum, giving them a four game losing streak as they approach the season’s midway point.
The week started last Tuesday, Nov. 24, in Chase, where Revelstoke lost a 1-0 defensive battle to the team they’re chasing in the standings. Aidan Doak made 27 saves in the Revelstoke net, but his teammates were unable to get one past Chase Heat netminder Nic Bruyere.
“That game could have went either way in my opinion,” said coach Ryan Parent.
On Friday, the Grizzlies were back in Chase for an attempt at revenge. Instead, the found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-1 shellacking. The Heat scored once in the first, twice in the second and three in the third period — including two in the final two minutes as the Grizzlies attempted a comeback.
Defenceman Jackson Caller, who the Grizzlies acquired after he was released by the WHL Portland Winterhawks, scored the lone goal for Revelstoke.
“I thought we got outworked,” said Parent. “We have to be better against Chase.”
On Saturday, Revelstoke was at home to play the Fernie Ghostriders. The teams traded goals in the first period, with Cole Keebler scoring for Fernie and Aaron Aragon for Revelstoke.
Keebler, who leads the KIJHL in scoring, put the Ghostriders in front 3-1 with a pair of second period goals, however the tides turned when he left the game with an injury.
The Grizzlies came out firing in the third. Wyatt Gottschalk got Revelstoke within one 45 seconds into the period and the team pushed relentlessly to even things up, but the tying goal didn’t come until Caller fired home a shot from the high slot with 94 seconds to go.
Then the breakdown happened. With the score tied, Revelstoke went for the win instead of taking it easy and playing for overtime. Unfortunately, their eagerness sunk them, when Ryan Kennedy capitalized on an odd-man rush to put Fernie ahead with less than a minute to go. Fernie added an empty net goal to seal the win.
“I think it comes down to mental toughness,” said Parent, when asked what happened. “We needed to get the point and maybe we were thinking ahead of that.”
He did credit the players for the comeback. “I think we battled hard and maybe deserved a different fate. Mentally, you get into a tie game late in the game and you just want to keep the point.”
This weekend Revelstoke hosts the Sicamous Eagles on Saturday before making another trip to Chase on Sunday. Revelstoke is nine points ahead of the Eagles and 11 back of Chase in the Doug Birks Division.
“We’re going to work awfully hard at the very simple things,” said Parent. “We were overly complicated the last couple of games so we have to work hard at playing simple hockey. And our work rate over 60 minutes needs to improve.”
The team might have to make do without starting goaltender Aidan Doak, who was called up to Junior A last week, though Parent was hopeful he’ll return to the team. “It sounds to me like he’s coming back. He usually gives us a really good chance to win.”
They will also need to work on scoring. They are near the bottom of the league in goals for and not a single player has reached double-digits in goals or is close to a point-per-game.
“We have to be very simple, shoot the puck and drive rebounds,” said Parent. “Right now we look too much to score on first opportunities.”