In front of a boisterous crowd of 1,300, the Grizzlies and Vees turned in a fantastic effort in a highly entertaining game on Friday night. Fans were treated to a high tempo match which was end to end all night, as the Grizzlies matched the number two ranked Junior A team in the country, in the Penticton Vees on every shift and every inch of the ice.
A great atmosphere and a great advertisement for what Grizzlies hockey is all about these days and anyone new to the organization/level of hockey that were in attendance, should be thirsting for more.
A nice touch was having the players, Mom’s and billet Moms wearing their sons jersey and receiving a rose from the players.
1st Period – The game took off like a shot with the Grizz and Vees setting a furious pace with both teams exchanging chances and some nice hits along on the way. In a first period which saw some great hockey, ensuring that both goalies had to look sharp early on.
It would be the Grizzlies who would take the lead as dogged determination from Chase Kaiser would cause him to force a Vees defenseman into a turnover, which he picked up putting a nice shot on Vees goalie Katuner who could only direct it into the path of Myles Powell. Powell, would drive towards the net and beat Katuner for a 1-0, good guys lead after 12 minutes. Kaiser and Nicholishen would get the assists.
The Vees who came as advertised where skilled, determined and well organized and would capitalize just a minute after the Grizzlies goal on a rare DeJong turnover, after he had trouble controlling a pass on a Grizzlies PP. Nolan, would be disposed by the impressive Mike Rebry, who would score a short-handed goal unassisted, after going five hole on Brady Rouleau. 1-1.
The action would continue to go from end to end as on the same powerplay, Blake Thompson who skated hard all night, would pick up on a rebound from shot he had just taken and hammered his second shot by the Vees goalie, leaving Katuner helpless for an unassisted Grizzlies goal to make it 2-1.
The Vees would start to stretch the Grizzlies before the end of the first and would get the equalizing goal in the last minute; as that man Wade Murphy would fire a pin point shot into the roof of the net to tie things up at 2-2 at the end of the second.
2nd/3rd Period – High octane, with both teams creating chances and the Vees and Grizz defensive not giving an inch. Credit to Rouleau and Katuner who would pull off a few nice saves a piece to keep it all squared
It would be like a tennis game with the way both sets of players would go on the attack tonight in the last two periods.
Credit to Myles Powell and the Vees Travis Blanliel, who would drop the gloves and exchanged a few nice shots, which would really give there teammates and crowd an extra spark in the second. Chalk this one down to a draw.
The line of Lawson, Mazurek and Nicholishen certainly couldn’t match there Vees counterparts for speed, but, with their size and mobility for being power forwards, really kept the Penticton forwards contained and shut them down when they came out for a shift . Having a shut down line like this, that will start to put up points and can play some hockey, should really prove to give BCHL teams some real headaches this season.Gerry Fitzgerald face off wins, would be key throughout the 3rd frame.
Credit to Myles Fitzgerald, who for me would lay on the hit of the game, pasting Wade Murphy up against the boards towards the end of the third.
After three excellent period of hockey, it would end 2-2 at the end of regulation.
OT (first) – The Grizzlies had a golden chance to finish the Vees off in the first OT period, but, couldn’t make the PP count. An excellent PK from the Vees would ensure the game would go into the second OT, with the crowd getting right behind the home side.
Game thoughts Victoria – They matched the Vees pound for pound as it was a treat to watch two well coached teams, who battled and put on a superb display on for the 1,300 in attendance. The Grizzlies would turn in a pure team effort and the hustle, energy and skill level was simply a treat to watch.
The Nicholishen, Mazurek and Lawson line was a big factor in keeping the Vees forwards from doing further damage with their size and fore checking.
Mitch Meek, had a lot more ice time tonight and deserved it, seeing more time on special teams including the OT periods. Meek, at 16 has really turned some heads with his smart hockey sense and awareness on the ice.
Myles Powell and Garrett Skrbich , worked there socks off tonight and it has been interesting to watch there game grow and develop so far this season.
Having an experienced goalie like Brady Rouleau, who is confident and calm under pressure, was a difference maker tonight against the league’s top scoring team.
The Fitzgerald’s; consistent, dangerous and one of the most effective line in the BCHL at this time.
All in all, credit to every Grizzlie tonight who battled and showed the competitiveness and quality of this team against an opponent like Penticton. Great character win tonight.
Game Thoughts Penticton – Fast, skilled, few mistakes and a well-coached Fred Harbinson team, who knew they were in a battle against Bill Bestwick’s team tonight. The Vees, have a lot scoring, a well run defense and lots of depth which makes them one of the teams to beat this season. Along with Murphy, Mellor, McClure, Rebry and Nenne, this is a team that boasts some of the best point producers in the league. A treat to watch.
Attendance – 1323 Shots on Goal – Grizzlies 34 and Vees 43
Power plays – Grizzlies 1 for 3 and Vees 0 for 1
Three Stars of the Games: * Myles Fitzgerald ** Brady Rouleau *** Wade Murphy (Credit to Murph for coming out to acknowledge the crowd)