By Tony Burrows
Grizzlies go down to West Kelowna in the last 52 seconds of the game!
For our Grizzlies it seems that they are having trouble with the first game of a road trip. In the first of 2 more tough back to back road trip games our Grizzlies were defeated by the West Kelowna Warriors 5 to 4 at Kelowna's Royal Lepage Place.
After an extremely slow start to the first period in which the Grizz were lucky that they were not scored on, just 4 minutes into the game Coach Bill Bestwick called a time out for the Grizzlies. They had not even had a shot on goal yet! This time out ;turned out to be a masterful strategy by a great coach. Whatever he said to his team must have really sunk home because the Grizzlies play picked up amazingly! At 13.10 Myles Fitzgerald put Victoria on the scoreboard first with assist from his brother Gerry and Blake Thompson. Both teams were now playing good, hard hitting hockey. At 17.53 of the first David Walchuck scored his first goal this season as he had just returned after nursing injuries. Dave got this great goal with help from Garrett Skrbich. Then at 18.01 Myles Fitzgerald got the Grizzlies into penalty trouble putting them a man down for hooking. Then to add to the Grizzlies woes at 18.42 David Mazurek was sent to the penalty box for 2 minutes for the same thing. This gave the Warriors a 3 on 5 advantage which they promptly capitalized on making the score at the end of the first 2 to 1 Victoria.
As we all know the Grizz have been mostly dismal in the second periods of several games. This one was no exception. Our players were badly overscating the puck and giving juicy turn overs. Also rebounds in front of our goalie Michael Stilliadis were left in the crease uncleared. Scotty Didmon said on the broadcast that you could see that our Coach Bill Bestwick was getting frustrated with the play from the team. Even our “Awesome threesome” apparently were not playing as well as we have seen them play. At 12.28, on a power play Jetlan Houcher from the Warriors scored tying the game. The high point of period 2 came when at 12.42 Brett Hartskamp, with assists from Turner Lawson and Chris Albertini managed to beat last season's Grizzlies goaltender Garrett Rockafellow who was traded to West Kelowna at the beginning of this season. This put Victoria ahead by goal until at 17.50 the Warrior's Brennan Clark scored another tying goal. Then at 18.14 of the second period Brett Mckinnon beat our goalie Mike Stilliadis giving Kelowna the go ahead goal at the end of the second.
As usual the Grizzlies came alive in the third period. They played much better than they had for the first 2 periods. Passing was crisper and there were fewer ugly turn overs. The Grizz were rewarded for their efforts at 11.02 with a goal by Mark McLellan from Kaiser and Powell! This tied the game at 4 apiece!It really looked like we were heading into overtime (as we have done so many times this season!) until, with only 52 seconds left in the regulation time Brett Mckinnon scored what would be the winning goal.
Even though we only got the game through our broadcast, It was great to hear about one of fan favorites, Garrett Rockafellow playing for the Warriors. Great game Rocky!
I feel sorry for our team that left Kelowna in a snowstorm to drive up to Prince George hopefully arriving about 6am. then get a few hours shut-eye before they have to take on a fresh PG team that did not play tonight and slept in their own beds—not on a bus!
It was sooo close to going into overtime!