The Revelstoke Grizzlies fell two wins short of the 2017-18 KIJHL championship after a 5-3 loss to the Kimberley Dynamiters at home on Friday, April 6.
The final home game of the season attracted a huge sellout crowd, with fans lined up at the boards all around the arena. The popular beer garden side of the Forum sold out about an hour before faceoff for the much anticipated game.
Down 3-2 in the series, the Grizzlies needed the win to force a game seven in Kimberley on Sunday.
The Dynamiters came out strong in the first minutes of the first period, displaying a strong, organized counterattack. After the first five minutes, the Grizzlies regrouped and played strong hockey for the remainder of the first.
Jordan Robertson put the Grizzlies on the board first with 8:04 left in the first.
A flurry of goals in the second pushed the score to 2-2. Cam Russel scored first for the Dynamiters. Forty seconds later, Harrison Rosch made it 2-1 for the Grizzlies. About 30 seconds later, Cooper Page responded for the Dynamiters, tying the game up.
Page added another power play goal with less than a minute left in the second, putting the Dynamiters ahead 3-2.
Early in the third, Nicholas Ketola put the Dynamiters up 4-2 with a goal assisted by Matt Davies.
Jordan Rea brought the game back into reach and the crowd back into it at 12:01 of the third with power play goal assisted by Sho Takai.
The Grizzlies piled on the offense in the late minutes of the third, seeking the tying goal. But with 2:25 left, the Dynamiters sealed the deal with a goal from James Farmer, putting the win just out of reach at 5-3.
The Grizzlies shook off their offensive slump in game five, when they only managed 21 shots in a 5-0 loss. In game six, they outshot Kimberley 44-30, but just couldn’t translate the shot advantage to more goals.
The Dynamiters counterattack looked dangerous all night long, as they repeatedly demonstrated an effective, direct, hard-skating three-man rush to the net. The Dynamiters also capitalized on small breakdowns and brief moments of distraction; they popped in a tying goal during crowd celebrations in the second, and netted one when they needed it late in the second on a powerplay. Both goals derailed Revelstoke’s momentum in the game.
The Revelstoke Grizzlies season is now over. Their campaign was the best in years for the team, and they added the Doug Birks Division pennant and the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference banners to the Revelstoke Forum rafters, but fell short of the KIJHL pennant.
The 2017-18 team was an inspiration for Revelstoke, and really did draw the community in. The playoff run was a great time at the Forum. The building was near capacity almost every night, full of local stalwarts who take in every game, and lots of seasonal residents new to the game. The atmosphere was festive at each game.
Congratulations to the team for their great season and hats off to the team, staff and dozens and dozens of volunteers and supporters who made the 2017-18 season the best one in years!