The Revelstoke Grizzlies will be playing the 100 Mile House Wranglers in the opening round of the playoffs starting this Wednesday.
Revelstoke goes into the playoffs on a high note, having picked up points in its last three games, including a weekend sweep of the Sicamous Eagles to close out the regular season.
“It’s a good way to go into playoffs after a couple of wins against Siccy. Siccy played good, they played hard,” said coach Ryan Parent following the weekend’s games.
The Grizzlies week started on Tuesday when they played host to the Chase Heat at the Forum. In a hard-fought battle, Chase wound up on top 4-3 after Josh Bourne scored in overtime.
Aaron Aragon scored twice and Jeff Bochon picked up the other Revelstoke goal in the loss. Kyle Baron picked up two assists, while Josh Shank made 34 saves in net.
On Friday, the Grizzlies headed through Eagle Pass to face the Sicamous Eagles. Bryce Mcdonald gave the home team a 1-0 lead with a goal seven minutes into the first. Revelstoke responded when Tommy Bodtker recorded a power play goal late in the second period. Brady Mende gave Revelstoke the win with only 81 seconds left to play. Trevor Dilauro had a big game in net, making 43 saves in the win.
On Saturday, the two teams closed out the regular season at the Forum. Revelstoke scored four times in the first period, getting two goals from Cody Carre, and singles from Kyle Berry and Aragon only 10 seconds apart.
Sicamous responded by scoring the next three, but Aragon clinched the win with an empty netter with only 47 seconds left. Dilauro stopped 30 shots for the win.
“We just wanted to roll the lines and make sure guys are getting rewarded for hard play and effective play,” said Parent. “That’s playoff hockey. You don’t turn on the magic light switch. You have to make sure you’re playing good, solid hockey going into playoffs.”
The Grizzlies kick off the playoffs on Wednesday, Feb. 24, in 100 Mile House. Game two is scheduled for Thursday, and games three and four take place on Saturday and Sunday in Revelstoke.
100 Mile House won the Doug Birks division and finished 24 points ahead of Revelstoke.
The have a balanced offences that is led by Brett Harris, who recorded 58 points on the season. Six other Wranglers scored at least 10 goals on the season.
“I think good defense wins games,” said Parent. “Over a seven game series, defence will win you a series.”
The Wranglers biggest strength might be their defence, which gave up only 125 goals — the fourth fewest in the KIJHL this season. Parent said they will have to figure out a way to solve the Wranglers’ goaltending.
“That means guys going hard to the net, putting pressure on the net, shot selection and so on,” he said. “We’re going to have to do a very good job making sure we’re there for second opportunities and rebounds.”
Parent said he will likely start Dilauro on Wednesday. “He’s given us a chance to win on a nightly basis so we’ll probably give him the nod there.”
100 Mile won five of their seven games in February, while Revelstoke won three of eight games this month, all over the last-place Eagles. The Grizzlies went 3-4-1 against the Wranglers during the regular season.
They will be heading to 100 Mile a day before the start of the series. Parent says they match up well against the division champs.
“We played good hockey up in 100 Mile,” said Parent. “We’ve won a couple of games up there, which most of the teams in our division haven’t been able to do. If we play our game, play hard effective hockey, we can come up with wins up there.”