Saturday, 15 September 2012

Victoria Grizzlies 3 - 2 Powell River Kings @ Bear Mountain Arena, Sept 14th

With close to 1500 in attendance for the home opener, an electric atmosphere, the antics of the Green Men and a Grizzlies support excited about what the Bill Bestwick era has in store, where in for a real treat tonight.

As the puck dropped, you could see a Grizzlies team fresh off of a promising showing at last weekend's showcase, primed and ready for the Powell River Kings.

1st Period - Would see the Grizzlies and certainly the Fitzgeralds causing the Kings some issues early on. The Grizzlies with a confident spring in their step would take the lead, through a clinical shot from Nolan DeJong, who would score with a laser from just over the blue line leaving Powell River goalie, Imoo no chance, as the puck ended up in the top right hand corner of the net. Some nice work from the Fitzgerald's to get the puck forward to pick out DeJong for the shot. Nice screen from Zach Urban on the play as well.
The combination of DJ Jones and Thompson in defence, would close down the Kings forwards quickly and supplied plenty of ammo for the Grizzlies attack
The Kings and Grizzlies would exchange shots with Rouleau coming up with a couple of nice saves with one from a breakaway. But, it would be the Grizzlies with the Hahn, Hartskamp and Skrbich line that would create chances and put the Kings under some pressure.
The first period would end 1-0 Grizzlies.

2nd Period - The Kings would come into the game more in the second with Richardson and Scarth doing there best to pester the defence. Although the Grizzlies would continue to have the better of position and the bulk of the chances, it would be the Kings that would tie it up from a Matt Dupoint. shot after some good work from Richardson. 1-1 on the 5 mintue mark of the period at that point.
The triplets would hit the post and another high octane performance from Chase Kaiser would keep the fans enthralled as the Grizzlis tried to take the lead agian.
Credit to Kings goalie Imoo, who would come up with a couple of stellar saves to keep the game tied at 1-1 at the end of the second.

3rd Period - The Grizzlies would take it up a notch,with the Fitzgerald's causing Imoo a few more problems. However, a well coached Kings team would carve out a few chnaces midway through the third, as Matt Scarth would squeeze a shot by Rouleau, giving Powell River a 2-1 lead, against the run of play.
Victoria, weren't to be denied and after some good work and a quality pass from Nolan DeJong , he would pick out Myles Powell who would coolly score passed Imoo to tie it at 2-2. Credit to the forth line of Powell, McLellan and Richardson for their chemistry and grinding out the plays tonight. Even after some sustained Grizzlies pressure, the Kings would keep the Grizzlies at bay. Turner Lawson, after another battling perfomance in a  Grizzlies jersey, would be shown the door from the Refs, after a hit from behind on a Kings player.
Things would boil over a little, as Powell Rover would exact a little revenge against a Grizzlie player by way of Bradley Parker would cream one of out boys against the boards. At which point, new signing Stefan Nicholishen, would make himself known to his teammates and fans by landing Parker with a couple of nice shots.With the chants of Go Grizz go, the home support would rally around the white and gold.
A great play from DJ Jones to stop a Kings breakaway towards the end of the period.
But, the play of the game in dramatic style and a fitting end to the home opener, would see Leo Fitzgearld, go five-hole on Imoo, after picking up a pass form Dejong, which would see the puck just trickle through the goalies pad and sneak over the line with one second to go, making it 3-2 Grizzlies. How about that for a finish.

Game Thoughts Grizzlies - Lots of intensity tonight as the chemistry really looks like its starting to come together on this team. The Grizzlies created lots of chances and really put the Kings under a lot  of pressure throughout the game.
DJ Jones, was fantastic tonight. He was solid defensively and was really dangerous going forward, creating numerous Grizzlie scoring opportunities. Great positional player.
His partner Blake Thompson, did some nice things at both ends of the ice tonight. Looks like a great pick up.
Myles Powell, looks to be gaining in confidence and with his skill and on ice vision should become a real asset to the team this season.
Dante Hahn, works hard all game and really looks like he's clicking with Hartskamp and Skrbich.
Nolan DeJong, wow. At 17, the skies is the limit for Nolan as he plays well beyond his years. Makes smart decisions in his own end and looks very dangerous going forward with a cannon of a shot.

Overall - The crowd was really into the game tonight and what an atmosphere, to start this new chapter of the Grizzlies. An entertaining hard working game from both teams and throw in the Green Men, it was a lot of fun tonight.
If there is an NHL look out, you've got some a real quality Junior A hockey team residing at Bear Mountain Arena folks!!!

Shots on Goal - Grizzlies 36 and the Kings 19   Powerplays - Grizzlies 2 for 7 and Kings 1 for 2

Stars of the Games* Nolan DeJong      ** Jonah Imoo    *** DJ Jones

On a side note for Grizzlies fans, there was a team get together at Original Joe's after the games. lots of fans in attendance, a big round of applause for the players and Bill Bestwick and Craig Didmon taking time out to chat and get to know the fans.
The Green Men came along to and credit to these guys as they entertained, chatted up the Langford ladies and posed for some shots. Two guys chatting up women in green lyrca outfits in, all the power to them.
For this blogger, the highlight of the night was getting to meet Bill Bestwick. Class act and to quote him " I'm excited and energized to coach this team".

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