The KIJHL Finals between Kimberley Dynamiters and Revelstoke Grizzlies continued on Monday and Tuesday in Revelstoke for games three and four.
Having built themselves a 2-0 series lead, the Dynamiters were halfway to achieving their goal. The Grizzlies, however, had other plans.
“Going in to game three, we had the mindset that we needed to be much better than in games one and two” Grizzlies head coach and general manger Ryan Parent said. “We hadn’t played our best hockey. Our group understood that.”
The Grizzlies’ Joel Scrimbit scored 4:41 into the first period, bringing the 900 plus fans at the Revelstoke Forum to their feet.
At the exact midway point of the game, the 10:00 mark of the second period, Mason Palaga tied the game at one.
After that, it was downhill, as the Nitros frustration began showing through.
“It was a little bit frustrating,” Nitros’ head coach and general manager Derek Staurt said, as the team was struggling to capitalize on chances, as a result the team took “some selfish and stupid penalties”.
The Grizzlies would score two power play goals on those penalties before the end of the second to take a 3-1 lead. Goals were by Jordan Rea and Clark Nelson.
Then very early in the third, the Grizzlies would take a three goal lead, putting the final nail in the game.
Despite outshooting the Grizzlies 41-36, including limiting them to six shots in the third, the Nitros lost 4-1.
Game four would prove to be just as infuriating for the Nitros. They would outshoot the Grizz 37-18, yet loose by one goal, scored by Jacob Bourchier.
Giovanni Sambrielaz earned his first shutout of the post season, making 37 saves.
“We have very good goaltending,” Parent said. “I felt that our defensive structure through both games was solid.”
“Based on the box score, it may look like [they have a hot goalie],” said Stuart. “We are not bearing down on our chances. I don’t recall too many remarkable saves, we need to stop hitting him in the midsection or chest.
“He is a very good goaltender, don’t get me wrong. But we are making him look far better than he is.”
Needless to say, the Grizz are pleased that they outscored the Nitros 5-1 to even the series.
“When you are scoring enough to win, it makes a difference,” Parent said. “Five goals in two games is a respectable amount. We got both the results that we wanted. Nothing else would be acceptable.”
For the Nitros, they are left frustrated, not getting the results they wanted, despite controlling and dominating four of the six periods.
“We dominated the last four periods,” said Stuart. “They averaged six shots in the last four periods. I have never seen a case where a team dominates so much a not score a goal.”
Perplexed, Stuart added, “It was quite remarkable how many scoring chances we had compared to how few they had, and we somehow lost two hockey games. I think the guys are pretty angry and pretty upset, and know that we have to keep going.
“They are pissed off because they haven’t gotten the result based on the fact that their actions have deserved results. In our opinion this series should be over, but for some reason we just couldn’t bear down on our scoring chances. Bounces went their way.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who dominates who, they won the hockey games. It’s 2-2 and we are back home.”
The series now becomes a mini best-of-three with the KIJHL title on the line and a ticket to the Cyclone Taylor Cup in Richmond.
“We have two very good teams,” Parent restated. “The team that wants it more is the team that is going to walk away with it.”
The Grizzlies are not concerned about what venue they are playing in.
“In my mind it doesn’t factor which ice you are on,” explained Parent. “At the end of the day, you have to play. We will be ready.
“Everybody is trying to analyze every little thing nowadays. In game three we had good production,we will want to have more production in game five.”
The Nitros are going to be relying on recent past experience to get them through this series.
“We are going to look at it as the exact same situation that we were in last series with Nelson,” Stuart said. “The boys are pissed off, and are excited and ready to go Thursday night.”
Despite the two losses Stuart doesn’t feel that the team doesn’t need to make adjustments.
“There is nothing we need to change. Our guys actions were phenomenal for five of the six periods there [in Revelstoke.]
“I am confident for the law of averages that if we keep playing like we are playing we are going to win a game. We need to keep doing what we are doing, but score goals.”
Game five is at the Kimberley Civic Centre Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. MDT, and game six is Friday night in Revelstoke at 8 p.m. MDT.