Friday, 14 November 2014

Grizzlies Dumped by Trail in Defensive Nightmare

     The Grizzlies kicked off their weekend road-trip in Trail, B.C. as they took on the Smoke Eaters on a crisp Friday night. For the Grizzlies, Jake Emilio slotted back into the line-up after missing over a month due to injury. The Grizzlies were coming off six days rest, with their last contest coming at home against the Powell River Kings last Saturday, with the home team leaving the building with a 4-2 win.

     The first period was the best period for the Grizzlies, as both teams engaged in a neutral zone battle that neither team could get the upper hand. There were only seven shots in the first, with the Grizzlies holding the Smokies to just two shots in the first frame.

     The second period would be where the wheels fell off for the visitors. What started out as an even battle quickly turned into a horrific series of events for the Grizzlies. It all started with a Cody Van Lierop holding penalty at the start of the period that sent the Smoke Eaters to a power play, and the Grizzlies spiralled downwards from there. It would be Kienan Scott getting on the board first for Trail, as the Smokies would jump out to a great start to the second period. Only thirty seconds later, Harlan Orr would capitalize on a Victoria turnover (which was a recurring theme in this game) to make it 2-0 Trail just a couple of minutes into the frame. What would transpire after the 2-0 goal was indescribable. When the Grizzlies are on their game, they're making crisp tape-to-tape passes and skating with ease. In this case, the Grizzlies allowed the Smokies to skate circles around them, and the amount of turnovers in the second period alone was too much to count, as the Grizzlies handed the game over to the home team. Over the last 11 minutes of the second period, the Smoke Eaters scored six times, including a last second buzzer beater from Jeremy Lucchini to give Trail a commanding 8-2 lead after two periods of play. The Grizzlies did get on the board in the second, as Brett Gruber and Matt Kennedy did find the back of the net for Victoria, but the amount of defensive lapses erased the Victoria markers and buried the road team into the ground with a period still left to play.

     The Grizzlies weren't able to get back on track for the third period, as Craig Martin would make it 9-2 Trail in the first half of the frame with a beautiful tic-tac-toe play off a Victoria turnover in their own end. Jake Emilio would capitalize on a Victoria powerplay to get his second of the season, very impressive considering it was his first game action since October 11th. The Smokies would reach the double-digit mark at the 14:01 mark, as birthday boy Max Newton would score his 1st BCHL goal on his 17th birthday to expand the Trail lead once again. A late goal by Dane Gibson would pad his stat total, but the Grizzlies ultimately wind up losing this one big time by a final score of 10-4.

     There's no question the Grizzlies' downfall came at the start of the second period. The Grizzlies were unable to recover from a quick two goals from the home team, and the flood gates opened from there. 8 goals allowed in the second period alone were just too much for the Grizzlies to overcome, as the team never found it's traction after the Van Lierop penalty to kick off the second frame. Again, turnovers killed the Grizzlies on Friday night. Although Trail did burn the visitors with their speed at times, the Grizzlies were their own worst enemy as the game dragged on.

     For the Grizzlies, they must recover quick, as they trek on to Kelowna for tomorrow night's date with one of the BCHL's best, newly-acquired Braydon Gelsinger and the West Kelowna Warriors. A 10-4 loss is never easy to learn from and move on, but the Grizzlies are amidst a three-games in three-nights stretch where there's no room for mourning a big loss. There's no doubt that every team, even top teams in the league, go through rough patches and have bad games, and head coach/GM Brad Knight and the rest of the Grizzlies have to chalk this game up as a loss and move on from there. It won't be easy, but the Grizzlies have to regroup and prepare for a tough test tomorrow night. -TB

1 comment:

  1. I won't pile on here, other than to say that TB, got it spot on. I am sure the hotel rooms are quiet tonight for the boys. The first period was very promising, but something happened after we held Trail to only 2 shots. Here is my theory: Trail's coaches probably went ballistic after facing a potential sixth straight loss while we likely thought we would hold them to under 10 shots on the night in a laugher.

    OK, I am probably a bit wrong on both counts, but something happened. Two things I saw in the final 40 minutes: 1) Bad turnovers, due to rust in every part of the ice and 2) Very poor discipline. Both will hurt any team but its worse for the Grizzlies. On the whole we can score powerplay and shorthanded goals with relative ease, but the team in general does not kill penalties very well right now and the Grizzlies really need to address that.

    The first step is fixing the discipline. You probably can't fix the PK until after the road trip, but you can fix the penalties against numbers tonight with a good understanding by everyone. We are a team that cannot afford 5 minute Majors. That was the final straw tonight for us. Not the only reason for the loss but it was 5-1 before we took that Major. That Major penalty just blew the game wide open. It showed that we didn't have the discipline to skate with them while losing 5-1 and try and work on chipping away at that lead to maybe make it 5-2 or a respectable 5-3. Because this team can do that, we can skate with anybody. We did last Friday vs Penticton.

    No the Grizzlies lost an ugly one tonight. But like TB said, it is over and the best thing you can do is just let it go.

    Big game Saturday night up in West K and they will be waiting for us. Circle the wagons boys, there's no cavalry coming, not anytime soon anyway. Its us against the world right now, so let's just have each other's backs, no finger pointing and let's face the Warriors with a full 60 minute effort.