Revelstoke Grizzlie’s goaltender Michael Lenko stretches out to stop Nelson Leafs’ forward Michael Rand during Revelstoke’s 3-2 win on Saturday.

Revelstoke Grizzlies split games in West Kootenay road trip

Revelstoke Grizzlies follow one-goal loss to Beaver Valley Nitehawks with upset win over Nelson Leafs.

By Cassandra Federico, Special to the Times Review

The Grizzlies started 2015 with a road trip to the Kootenays. They took on the two top teams of the Neil Murdoch Division. After a loss against the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Friday night, the Grizzlies defeated the Nelson Leafs on Saturday night.

Revelstoke played hard against Beaver Valley on Friday night, but they couldn’t hold onto the win, and lost 3-2.

Josh Pilon put the Grizzlies on the board at 17:58 in the first period, with help from Ullar Wiatzka. Mitch Foyle tied it up for the Nitehawks at 14:39 on a power play, leaving the score even at 1-1 going into the second.

At 11:08 in the second period, Tyler Chavez Leech restored Revelstoke’s lead. Assists went to Ryan Hozjan, and Steven Fiust.

The Grizzlies went into the third period with a one goal lead over the NiteHawks. At 14:41, the Nitehawks scored to tie the game back up. Shortly after, Tyler Leicht score an unassisted goal to give Beaver Valley the lead. The Grizzlies couldn’t take the lead back, and lost the game 3-2.

Despite the loss on Friday, coach Ryan Parent felt good about the way the Grizzlies played. “For me I thought structurally our game was good, and we competed hard,” he said.

On Saturday night, the Grizzlies were in Nelson where they took on the Leafs. After being so close to a win on Friday night, they went to Nelson ready to play hard. The hard work generated in a win against the team that previously beat them 9-3.

Jeff Bochon opened the scoring for the Grizzlies at 2:48 in the first period with an unassisted goal. Chavez Leech added another for Revelstoke shortly after, with help from Jackson Fulton, and Fiust. The Grizzlies went into the second leading 2-0.

There were no goals for either side in the second period, leaving the Leafs still trailing the Grizzlies going into the third.

Chavez Leech scored an unassisted goal on a powerplay at 8:33 in the third period, to give his team a three goal lead. Michael Rand put Nelson on the board at 7:16. Austin Lindsay added a second goal 30 seconds later to get the Leafs within one but the Grizzlies managed to hang on and beat the Leafs 3-2.

Parent was proud of the way the Grizzlies played against Nelson.

“We were strong on the powerplay, and we brought a complete game against Nelson,” he said. “We didn’t worry about the way Nelson plays, and we focused on the way we play, which paid off.”

Parent was pleased with the effort of the entire team on their trip to the Kootenays, but the play of Chavez Leech, Brady Mende, and Zach Morey stood out for him.

“Chavez Leech had a consistent weekend. He played not only physically, but he got us on the board. Mende had probably his strongest weekend since he`s been here, and Morey came back from an injury, and was strong for us on the back end,” he said.

Chavez Leech  shared his thoughts on how he thought the team played over the weekend. “As a group we played very well,” he said.

Chavez Leech also shared what he thinks the team needs to do to make the playoffs. “We just need to keep working hard, and focus on one game at a time.”

Revelstoke goaltender Michael Lenko had an exceptional weekend, making 28 saves on Friday and 43 on Saturday. Both Parent, and Chavez Leech praised his goaltending.

“He gave us a chance to win on Friday night,” Chavez Leech said.

“Nelson gave it hard to us in the first, but he weathered the storm,” Parent said.

The Grizzlies will play their first home game of 2015 on Tuesday, Jan. 6, against the Kelowna Chiefs. On Friday, the Castlegar Rebels will be in town. On Saturday, the Grizzlies will be in Sicamous to take on their division rivals.

 

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