The Revelstoke Grizzlies picked up three wins last week, including a key victory over the 100 Mile House Wranglers, to climb within four points of a playoff spot with six games to go in the regular season.
“We’ve been playing like that the last seven or eight games and I didn’t feel we were being rewarded,” said coach Ryan Parent following the week’s action. “Now all of a sudden we’re starting to get a little puck luck, the bounces are going our way and the goaltending has been really good.”
The Grizzlies kicked off the week on Tuesday, Jan. 27, when they hosted the Kelowna Chiefs. Revelstoke scored early and often as they cruised to a 5-0 win.
Michael Roberts continued his hot streak with a goal just over three minutes into the first period. Steven Fiust made it 2-0 with two minutes left in the frame and Tyler Chavez-Leech put Revelstoke up by three with a power play goal with 38 seconds left in the first.
Louie Federico got Revelstoke’s fourth goal with help from Roberts and Nii Noi Tetteh at 8:48 of the second. Zach Paxman finished the scoring with a goal four minutes into the third.
Chavez-Leech, Fiust and Tetteh all had two assists in the win. Goaltender Michael Lenko stopped all 15 shots he faced, while the Grizzlies peppered the Chiefs with 44 shots of their own.
On Friday, the Grizzlies hosted the Summerland Steam in front of a packed house at the Forum.
Fiust opened the scoring with a power play goal with seven minutes left in the first.
The second period was quiet until the final few minutes, when the teams scored three times less than two minutes apart. First, Brady Mende picked up a power play marker with 3:20 left in the period. Wyatt Gale got the Steam on the board less than two minutes later, but Chavez-Leech responded for the Grizzlies 12 seconds after to restore Revelstoke’s two goal lead.
Jack Mills scored for Summerland with 39 seconds left in the game to get the Steam within one, but the Grizzlies shut the door the rest of the way to skate away with the win.
Aiden Doak returned from injury to make 28 saves in the Grizzlies net, while Fiust picked up three points in the win.
On Saturday, Revelstoke and 100 Mile House faced off in Salmon Arm in a crucial game for the Grizzlies, who sat six points back of the Wranglers for the final playoff spot in the Doug Birks division prior to the game.
The Grizzlies put on a dominant performance, outshooting the Wranglers 40-18 en route to a 3-1 win.
The Wranglers scored first, when Austin Turner put home a power play goal with Paxman sitting in the box.
Chavez-Leech responded with two goals in the second period — the first unassisted and the second on the power play with help from Roberts and Kyle Baron.
Josh Pilon made it 3-1 Revelstoke half way through the third period and Doak closed the door the rest of the way to seal the victory.
Parent said the wins were the result of a collective effort by the whole team.
“Our guys are dialled in now in the right direction,” he said. “I think we’re playing the right way every game.”
The Grizzlies now find themselves four points back of the Wranglers, with one game in hand and five of six remaining games at home.
“Our guys want to be in the playoffs and want to do that for each other,” said Parent.
On Tuesday, Revelstoke hosted the Sicamous Eagles, after press time. On Friday, the Kamloops Storm are in town, while on Saturday, Revelstoke hosts the North Okanagan Knights.
On Monday, Feb. 9, the Grizzlies will play another key game against the Wranglers in 100 Mile House. They close out the season on Feb. 13 and 14 with home games against the Storm and Chase Heat respectively.
Parent said every game is being treated as a must-win. “Every game’s a playoff game for us. We’ve been playing playoff hockey for two weeks now.”