Sunday, 30 September 2012

Victoria Grizzlies 2 - 3 Coquitlam Express @ Bear Mountain Area, Sept 29th, 2012

So what the hell was that. A hard fought battle by both teams, ended by a call with three mins to go in regulation that neither of the refs saw. The issue is compounded by the fact that if the Grizzlies where the offending team, why where they still allowed to keep attacking the Express in their zone for the next 52 secs. David Mazurek, was adjudged by the linesman, to have given Coquitlam’s power forward, Brady Shaw a shot to the head which the linesman caught. Now, myself and six other fans I was with had a great view of the action and saw minimal contact involving both players going back and forth. However, Brady Shaw, went down like an Argentine soccer player and after receiving some attention after the play was finally blown down; Shaw, after a little help shot up quite happily and skipped his way back to the Express bench.
This resulted in a 5 minute major and a game misconduct for Mazurek setting up the Express to score the winner on that powerplay.

This whole incident was a bad call and a disgrace to end that way, after a high tempo game from both teams, to come down to a very controversial call by the linesman.

1st Period – The Express came out looking to prove a point after Michael Stilidias stone walled them last weekend. The Grizzlies where positive in there play, but where chasing the Express for the first ten minutes of the game. McKinney, Pryzbek and Shaw tormented the Grizzlies Defence early on, but, it would be the 3rd line of Kerfoot Henning and Luca Leone who would get the scoring going after four minutes. With the Grizzlies puck watching, this allowed Leone the time to bury a shot by Stilidias to take the lead. Coquitlam have three very good lines and would add to their lead 3 minutes later when Leone would turn provider, setting up Henning for a 2-0 Express lead.

The Grizzlies would settle down a bit, with DJ Jones and the make shift line of Leo/Gerry Fitzgerald and Brett Hartskamp putting pressure on the Coquitlam goalie Huggins. The biggest line that I’ve seen suit up in Grizzlies uniforms, Lawson, Mazurak and Nicholishen looked like they had some chemistry going and had the Express under the cosh at times.

The Grizzlies continued pressure would pay off after a well worked goal would see DJ Jones, pick out AP, Justin Polishuck in acres of space, who put a perfectly placed shot over Huggins right shoulder to bring the Grizzlies back into at a 2-1 Express lead.

Credit to DeJong and Urban for some stellar penalty killing at the end of the period sending the puck back into the Express zone everytime Coquitlam  got in the Grizzlies zone on the PP

 2nd Period – High tempo and a good advert for BCHL hockey with both teams playing some good attacking stuff. The line of Skbich, Walchuk and certainly Dante Hahn played well tonight creating some chances and closing down the Express in the neutral zone. And it would be Dante Hahn on the PP, who has really impressed in the this first month of the season that picked up a nice pass for Skrbich, to score the Grizzlies second goal to tie it 2-2, three minutes into the second period.

Cole Huggins and Michael Stilidias would keep their teams in it and Huggins pulled off a superb save on what could have been an excellent  scoring chance, after Stefan Nicholishen came out of the penalty box and was one on one with the Express netminder. It would remain 2-2 at the end of the second.

3rd Period – Would be marred by “that call “. It’s a shame, as both teams had chances with Myles Powell coming close for the Grizzlies and Coquitlam’s Georgeson with a nice shot which made Stilidias pull off a great save. This game should have gone into OT which would have let both teams duke it out for points at that point. That should have been the end to this game.  Not to end it with a soft call that both refs missed on minimal contact involving both players that the linesman only had an adequate view of. Common sense should have prevailed but didn’t.

One the ensuing power play the Express would score with a Callum Hoffard goal to break Grizzlie hearts and give Coquitlam a 3-2 victory.

 Game Thoughts Grizzlies – This is a tough defeat to swallow. After a shaky first 10 minutes the Grizzlies settled down and competed hard for the rest of the game. In defeat this season, the Grizzlies have competed and have been in every contest of the 2012/13 season so far. A culture that Bestwick and Didmon have brought to this club. However, the Grizzlies need  secondary scoring to start to become more active/effective and quickly. The Fitzgerald’s along with D-man DeJong, Jones and Thompson have scored the bulk of the points so far. The other forwards are playing well make no mistake, but, they have to start scoring soon to ensure this team can be a contender through until April.

Stand Outs Grizzlies:

Myles Powell – Continues to improve and looks like he could become a lot more of a factor on this team with more ice time. Powell, is playing with a lot of confidence and with his speed and touch, should become more of an asset to this team.

Dante Hahn – Great positioning, good skater and can create and score. Hahn, is a smart hockey player and see the ice very well.

DJ Jones – Seems to drive the team at times and really has defenders on the heels when he leads the charge up ice. Is sound in his own zone. Could be one of the best defenders to ever suit up for the Grizzlies if this continues.

Blake Thompson – Consistent and another defenseman who plays both ends of the ice well.

 Game Thought Express – By far the best Express roster I’ve seen for years with lots of scoring and a well-organized defence. In Cole Huggins they may have the best goalie in the BCHL this season. With a good mix of skill and power forwards like Shaw and Przybek, Coquitlam could be the real deal this season.

 Just to add – Another good atmosphere tonight with the crowd over 1000. Giveaways during the game and Canada’s Men’s rowing silver medalists on hand to drop the puck tonight.

 Attendance – 1008    Shots on Goal – Grizzlies 28 and the Express 29

Power plays – Grizzlies 1 for 1 and the Express 1 for 2

Three Stars - * Blake Thompson    ** Luca Leone  *** Michael Stilidias

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