Sports

Grizzlies look to de-feather Eagles in round one of playoffs

Austin Donaldson, who received the Fan Favourite award before the game, fires home a one-timer on a feed from Darnel St. Pierre to score the Revelstoke Grizzlies fourth goal in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Penticton Lakers. - Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review
Austin Donaldson, who received the Fan Favourite award before the game, fires home a one-timer on a feed from Darnel St. Pierre to score the Revelstoke Grizzlies fourth goal in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Penticton Lakers.
— image credit: Alex Cooper/Revelstoke Times Review

Last year, it was heartbreak for the Revelstoke Grizzlies. After winning the division, they were upset by the Sicamous Eagles, a team that finished 32 points behind them, in seven games.

This year, the two teams are once again set to play each other in the first round of the KIJHL playoffs, but this time the roles are reversed. This year, it’s Sicamous that goes into the playoffs with a better record, having finished 13 points ahead of Revelstoke in the standings.

Grizzlies’ coach Kevin Kraus said there should be extra motivated to beat the Eagles, especially for the nine veterans that were on the team last year.

“We do have a young group but we also have a good older group that was here last year and I think that pain is still around,” said coach Kevin Kraus. “I think there’s a little bit of extra drive to beat them”

The teams ended up much closer in the standings than last year and the season series between the two teams was about as close as it could get. Both teams won three times in regulation, they tied once, and Sicamous won once in overtime. They also scored an equal amount of goals – 26 each. The last time the two teams faced off, on Feb. 3, Sicamous won 2-1 thanks to two goals in the final two minutes.

“If we play the style of hockey we should be playing and play smart, simple good defense, I think we can shut down their top end guys,” said Kraus.

Revelstoke finished off the regular season with a two wins and a loss in its final weekend. On Friday, Tyler Reay had two goals and assist and affiliate player Hayden Chase, a 15-year-old from Vernon, had a goal and an assist, as Revelstoke beat the Kamloops Storm 3-2 in Revelstoke.

On Saturday, the two teams faced off in Kamloops. Austin Donaldson and TJ Christensen scored for Revelstoke, but three third period goals by the Kamloops Storm gave them a 5-2 win.

On Sunday, the Grizzlies hosted the Penticton Lakers in an afternoon game. For the Lakers it was their last game before the team makes the move to 100 Mile House for next season. The Grizzlies feasted on a Lakers team that only had 13 skaters, winning 6-2. Christensen scored twice, and Reay, Donaldson, Riley Creighton and Chevy Hantula all had goals in the win.

While the games were meaningless from the perspective of the standings, Kraus said he was happy with the team’s play. “It’s a good way to end the year, go in with a little bit of momentum,” he said.

For the playoffs, he said the key to winning will be strong defensive play and limiting mistakes. “I don’t think we’re going to change anything, it’s more just getting the mental focus you need in the playoffs because every mistake can end your season,” he said.

Sicamous brings a balanced attack to the series, with seven 10-goal scorers, led by Brendan Devries and Cameron Berry, who scored 28 and 24 goals respectively.

“If we play the style of hockey we should be playing and play smart, simple good defense, I think we can shut down their top end guys,” said Kraus.

The series against the Eagles starts in Sicamous this Friday, Feb. 22. Game two is on on Saturday, with games three and four in Revelstoke on Monday and Tuesday. A bus will take fans to the games in Sicamous for $25, including tickets. Call Steve Smith at 250-837-7848 to book a seat.

 

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