By Jason and Pauline Portras
The Revelstoke Minor Hockey Association hosted their second tournament in as many weeks this past November 13 – 15, with the Bantam Grizzlies hosting 7 other teams from BC and Alberta.
When it was all over, one young lady turned and asked, “So, was it worth taking photos of?” with a sly knowing smile. “Absolutely,” I responded, “Absolutely.” What an action-packed weekend it was!
In case you missed it, a beautiful black-and-white CP Rail print was up for silent auction, there were 50/50 draws for each and every game worth a total approximate value of $1,000, as well as ten wonderful raffle items up for grabs. I’m sure there were more than a few ladies eyeing up the raffle basket overflowing with chocolate, including my wife. Unfortunately, she wasn’t lucky enough to win it.
The Junior Grizzlies’ first game was at 10:30 am on Friday against Golden. The Rockets exploded onto the ice for the first half of the First Period, drawing first blood with a goal by #6 Daton Durning. The hometown Junior Grizzlies started off a bit slow and a little disorganized, but soon gained their footing in the game. Even after having to fight off two penalties, the Grizzlies ended up ahead 2-1 after the First. Gaining steam, the Grizzlies added another four goals to the scoreboard in the Second Period, two of them while short-handed.
The Rockets mounted a valiant offense in the last 2 ½ minutes of the Third Period, scoring two goals back-to-back at 2:24 and 1:08. Yet, it was short-lived as their fire fizzled out after Grizzlies Lane Bull scored an empty netter with 29.6 seconds left in the game. The remaining Revelstoke goals were as follows: two goals from Rory Christie-Hoyle, and singles from Michael Miertsch, Jacob Ancell, Calum Gribbon, and Sammy LeRose. Golden had a hat-trick earner in Daton Durning and one other goal scored by Braxton Lentz. The final tally was 7-4 for the hometown team.
The next game for Revelstoke came a few hours later at 3:30pm on Friday against the Salmon Arm Silvertips. If this had been a fighting-allowed game, the gloves would’ve been dropped many times, as the two teams went at each other hard like a couple of angry boxers. The boards shuddered and boomed from flying bodies almost as much as from drilled pucks. The First Period ended 2-0 favouring Revelstoke with both goals scored by David Kline. Salmon Arm had all kinds of fight and passion in their game, but appeared to lack the technical skill needed to contend with the Grizzlies.
The Second Period saw the Silvertips get two penalties and Revelstoke score power play goals on both of them. As their frustrations mounted, Salmon Arm’s passing game fell apart and more often than not they tossed the puck down the ice without a game plan to pick it up again. This caught them flat-footed a number of times and the Grizzlies made them pay. The Second ended in an uneven score of 6-0, but also a 6 minute major against Revelstoke with 11.5 seconds left in that period. Unfortunately for the Silvertips, the short-handed Grizzlies came on just as strong, and fired up the Third with another goal. In the end, Revelstoke shut out their opponents 8-0, with two goals apiece for David Kline and Rory Christie-Hoyle, as well as goals from Tyson Sessa, Sammy LeRose, Hayden Mallett, and Lane Bull.
Saturday saw the Grizzlies compete against the Lake Bonavista Breakers from Calgary. Revelstoke exploded onto the scoreboard with two quick goals from Rory Christie-Hoyle in the first 3.5 minutes of the First Period and set a hard tone to the game. The Grizzlies hit hard crunching body checks that often rocked the Breakers, while the Lake Bonavista team either hit soft or not at all. It definitely had an effect on the game as, on a number of occasions, the Breakers players clearly abandoned the puck in favor of not getting hit. Perhaps part and parcel of that, the Breakers often made the mistake of playing the puck rather than their opponent’s body, allowing the Grizzlies to side-step and glide free. The First Period ended in a 0-5 score for Revelstoke.
John Neidermier of the Breakers scored a beautiful goal 21 seconds into the Second Period, and spurred on a run of good chances from his teammates. However, after the mid-game flooding of the ice, the Grizzlies came back with a vengeance, scoring another three goals. The Third Period saw another two Revelstoke goals and one from Lake Bonavista for a final score of 2-10 for the hometown team. For Revelstoke, Rory Christie-Hoyle earned five goals! Good job, young man. The other Grizzlies who scored were Cohen Lussier, Sammy LeRose, Calum Gribbon, James LeBuke, and Jacob Ancell. The Breakers two goals were scored by John Neidermier and Macewan Thompson.
Revelstoke finished 1st in Pool A, pitting them against the 2nd place Pool B Windermere Valley Rockies for a Sunday Semi-Final at 9:00am. Revelstoke definitely met their match in this meeting, in power, skill, and in passion.
The First Period was all Rockies, as the Windermere Valley team dictated the play and the pace for most of those first 20 minutes, ending the First with a 2-0 lead. The Grizzlies finally started to hit back in the Second Period after a power play goal by Rory Christie-Hoyle, which young #14 followed up with another two goals before the period ended, placing his team ahead 3-2. Windermere’s Nicholas Irons tied it up 8 minutes later, but then the Rockies took two undisciplined penalties in the last 35 seconds of the period. Unfortunately, Grizzlies #19 James LeBuke also took a hard hit in this period, fell awkwardly to the ice, and had to leave the game with an undetermined injury. “James will miss some playing time,” said Head Coach Steve Bull after the game, “I am not sure of the specifics of the injury or timeline for his return.” He did not return for the Final.
The Third Period was all-out, nothing left on the ice. During a 3 on 5 while Windermere were still down two players, Rory Christie-Hoyle lined up another beaut into the back of the Rockies’ net. The game changer was certainly the penalties Windermere suffered from, many that could’ve been avoided if they’d kept cooler heads. Yet, even while down a player, the Rockies were always in the game, so close to taking it over completely. Revelstoke’s hands got dirty as well. Both teams had offsetting penalties for roughing and each had to fight off 4 minute majors apiece for head contact. As one spectator noted, “Hitting is fine, but there’s no need to try and injure another player, especially the smaller guys. I’ve seen it happen on both sides.”
The game came right down to the wire as Windermere’s Dace Prymak tied the game 6-6 with 2:50 to go in the Third Period. Yet, the Windermere Rockies dropped a guy again due to a roughing call with 1:21 left in the game. The Grizzlies took advantage, and David Kline netted one on the power play with only 29 seconds left in the game, essentially winning the game for Revelstoke by a one-goal nail-biter 7-6. The goal scorers for Revelstoke were Rory Christie-Hoyle with four, Sammy LeRose with two, and David Kline with the winning goal. Windermere’s goals were netted as follows: Dace Prymak with a hat-trick, and single goals by Nicholas Irons, Connor Woodworth, and #2 (no name given).
The Final game was played on Sunday at 3:00pm, matching up the Revelstoke Junior Grizzlies against the Okotoks Oilers, who turned out to be another team who matched the hometown team in all respects. It also turned out to be another nail-biter, right to the very end.
The First Period saw the Oilers take a 1-0 lead as they pounded the Grizzlies and hounded after the puck mercilessly. Their game was so good that the hometown team’s passing game noticeably suffered, causing them to cough up the puck more than a few times or simply just give it away due to the pressure. It’s actually surprising the Oilers only netted one goal during that period. In the Second, the Grizzlies tied it up 8 minutes in, and then took the lead 2-1 after Calum Gribbon battled hard to score a power play goal.
The Third Period was a period of penalties, frustration on both sides, and a lot of solid hits. After each team got to the Final by winning all four of the games they played thus far, it was evident that neither was happy about the prospect of losing. The Grizzlies had to fight off four penalties in those short 20 minutes, while the Oilers had to fight off three. The big difference, however, was that the Oilers had all three players in the box at one time. This resulted in another Revelstoke power play goal with 6:47 remaining and an increased lead of 3-1.
An undisciplined Grizzlies penalty put Okotoks on the power play with 2:45 left in the game. With 1:02 remaining, Oiler Brayden McFarlane scored a hard fought and long-awaited second goal for Okotoks, bringing his team within one goal of a tie. Revelstoke rallied extra hard for the final minute of play and kept the Oiler’s goaltender from leaving his net until the last 20 seconds or so. I’m not ashamed to say I hoped for a last second Oiler goal just to prolong the excitement. But, it wasn’t to be, as the Grizzlies skated to victory with a 2-3 win over their valiant opponents. For the Grizzlies, the goal scorers were, no surprise here, Rory Christie-Hoyle with two and Calum Gribbon with one. For Okotoks, Liam Bartlett and Brayden McFarlane scored.
“We are really coming together well as a team and we are very proud of how the team competed all weekend,” exclaimed Head Coach Steve Bull on behalf of himself and his fellow coaches, “We had consistent 60 minute efforts and played a solid team game all weekend long.”
The overall final standings emerged as follows:
|Revelstoke Junior Grizzlies||5||0|
|Lake Bonavista Breakers||1||2||1|
|Salmon Arm Silvertips||0||4|
|Windermere Valley Rockies||1||1||1|
Photos can be purchased and/or shared on Facebook (among other social media platforms) by visiting www.revelstoke-life-and-times.redframe.com
For further information or if you have questions about these photos, please contact Jason Portras at firstname.lastname@example.org