The Revelstoke Grizzlies will face off against the Kamloops Storm in the second round of the KIJHL playoffs after defeating the North Okanagan Knights in five games in round one.
“First thing you have to do is give them a lot of credit,” said head coach Rylan Ferster following the series clincher Sunday night. “They gave us everything we could handle. They were a very worthy opponent. We talked about that before the series, we have to be ready, playoffs bring out the best in people. We have to fight, claw and scratch for everything we got.”
The Grizzlies defeated the Knights 6-3 in game five to win the series at home, buoyed by a rambunctious group of Australian hockey fans, who mobbed the players following the series win Sunday night,
“I love them. I love the Aussies,” said assistant captain Jeff Mobley, who was a particular favorite of the group. “Every time you hear them. You can’t not hear them.
“You just smile and use them as motivation, use it on that shift and please them, they cheer for me, everything’s good.”
The Grizzlies quartet of 20-year-olds led the way past the Knights, with goaltender Tory Caldwell posting a 2.14 goals against average and 92.25 save percentage and the top line of Bruce Silvera, Brooks Christensen and Brad Friedrich combining for 9 goals and 17 assists.
“In playoffs your best players have to be your best players, and that includes your leaders. We expect that from them,” said head coach Rylan Ferster.
What follows is a brief recap of each game:
Game 1 – Feb. 14:
Tory Caldwell got a shutout and the Revelstoke Grizzlies got scoring from Silvera, Brendan Urban, Dylan Rota and Devin Gelowitz as they downed the Knights 4-0 to open the series.
Caldwell turned aside 39 saves in the win, including numerous big saves to preserve the shutout while Revelstoke killed several late-game penalties, including an extended 5-on-3 deficit.
Game 2 – Feb. 15:
Silvera, Christensen and Friedrich combined for 11 points to lead the Grizzlies to a 4-2 win in game two. Revelstoke scored twice in the first five minutes on Knights goaltender Chris Hurry. Ben Greenaway got the Knights within one but the Grizzlies potted two more on their way to the win.
Game 3 – Feb. 17
Revelstoke downed North Okanagan 4-2 for the second straight game. Silvera recorded two points in the win, while Urban, Lucas Hildebrand and Hascarl also scored for Revelstoke.
Game 4 – Feb. 18
For the first time this season, the Grizzlies lost to the Knights, falling 4-3 when Zachary Lindsay scored in overtime to give North Okanagan the win.
The Grizzlies took a 2-0 lead before the Knights stormed back with three of their own. Silvera scored his second of the night with 27 seconds left to send the game to overtime.
Game 5 – Feb. 20
Revelstoke fell behind 2-0 early before storming back with four straight goals. The Knights made it 4-3 but that was the closest they would get as Urban scored to make it 5-3 and Braeden Monk capped things off with an empty net goal.
The second round begins Thursday night when the Grizzlies take on the Storm at home in Revelstoke. Game two is scheduled for Friday night.
Spencer Samuel and Hildebrand, who both missed game five with lower body injuries, are expected to return to the line-up.