Sunday, 7 December 2014

Drama Kings Return On Teddy Bear Night: 8-7 Grizzlies Over Cents

On the bus ride home from Cowichan on Friday night, there was a moment where I though that my Drama Kings narrative was perhaps dead. If you read this blog, you know the narrative well: big leads become small leads or tied games, late goals force Overtime situations, huge Grizzlies comebacks which don't seem possible end up happening, shutouts and EN goals are few and far between, coaches lose hair or they turn prematurely grey and lost of goals, lots of constant high drama.  That's been the narrative this season. And I gave it a name: I call them the Drama Kings.  They are literally the Kings of Drama.

But late on Friday night as the Grizzlies Team Bus Driver Jason leaned hard on the bus horn exiting The Island Savings Centre I had other thoughts. Jason of course was doing this as a point of formality and ceremony to inform any living soul within miles of The Big Stick that the victorious Grizzlies were leaving town. Right then as the horn finally stopped blaring, to the shock and horror of the local townsfolk, but to the school boy giddy delight of the twenty-one young men in the back of the bus, I suddenly though: 6-0 Grizzlies? This isn't the Drama Kings? This isn't the narrative?

No, this was supposed to be Game #1 under returning Head Coach, Craig Didmon and clearly, Coach Dids was having no part in all of this Drama Kings nonsense. Apparently the game plan going in featured Five Big Points and each and everyone was fully met. Oh well, I thought, I will never complain about a win and it sure was nice to see Michael Stiliadis pick up his first Shutout of the year. It was in fact the team's first Shutout on the season as well. Far less dramatic teams usually have more than a few Shutouts by the mid season mark, but not the 2014/15 Grizzlies. Maybe it will just have to be ok if the Grizzlies develop a new identity and if it involves less drama and a few dominant performances, well that's ok.

But last night after the Merritt Centennials visit to the Q Centre, as I stared down at the ice and watched the Grizzlies pour over the bench to mob a celebrating Garrett Forster, after his incredible OT game winner, I started thinking about the Drama Kings again. Because there if there ever was a word to describe the hockey game I had just witnessed, dramatic would certainly be the word.

In a fifteen goal game, its kind of tough to describe all the scoring but I will do my very best. Here is a quick synopsis of how the game went: Grizzlies score and teddy bears rain down from the rafters, Cents answer, Grizzlies retake the lead and Merritt ties it up, Grizzlies score again and Merritt comes back again with a couple more to take lead for the first time. And that was just the first two periods! You didn't know it at the time but that was only half of the scoring you would see in this wild barn burner down at The Q. Seven more goals would be scored in the 3rd Period. It short this game was nuts, absolutely crazy.

This hockey game witnessed three lead changes and seven game tying goals including a shorthanded goal by Merritt forward Gavin Gould with no less than 9 seconds left in regulation time to force the OT. The game was a wild firebrand style of hockey which if word gets out, could soon restore the typical 1,300-1,400 fans you tend to see on normal game nights in the Westshore. You kind of knew something was up when Cliff Lequesne missed his "One Minute Left In The Second Period" call at the end of Period #2. He never does that. Who knows, maybe he was a little busy down there in the Centre Broadcast Room.

You think?

Yeah, I think I am going to give my buddy Cliff a bit of a Hall Pass on this one. He was very likely just as busy as myself and my Play-By-Play partner Scott Didmon up top. You might say that we had a little bit on our minds at the time. We actually ran out of room to write, there was that much game information flying around. On several occasions in the third period, we both looked at each other in total disbelief about what we were seeing. As for Storm Wahlrab and Cody Van Lierop both in the Press Box on the evening, those players, powerless to affect the outcome, were simply beside themselves throughout the game. I kind of felt bad at times to tell you the truth, they're both just great young men. By the time of the OT it was almost cruel.

Here are some stats which tell the tale: This game featured no less than 16 of 18 Grizzlies players registering at least a point, both opposing goalies with nearly identical save percentages at around 76%, 13 different goal scorers in the hockey game and can you believe it, four goals scored within 60 seconds of one and other.

This game had everything. I say that because I am usually one of the last people to leave the building on game nights. It comes with the job. And I am pretty sure I saw the Q Centre Zambonie driver, Tom, clearing up a kitchen sink which had somehow managed to find its way onto the playing surface during the melee after Garrett Forster finally dispatched the visitors with his eventual game winner in OT.

With the Grizzlies competing with the Westshore Santa Truck Parade in full force outside and all along the Old Island Highway, the 945 fans who did make their way into the Q Centre on the night, certainly left the building happy as the noise in the arena was certainly the loudest of the season thus far. The Q Centre was rocking all night. And as for The Teddy Bear Toss, well it didn't take too long to rain down. Just 38 seconds in was when #8 Brett Gruber would score on the PP and get the building rocking. If you were paying attention, that early goal might have been a harbinger of good things to come on the night. Two and a half hours and 12 goals later, the fans would be on their feet in elation as the Grizzlies found their figurative Drama King crowns just in time and wore them with pride.

The Grizzlies will now get seven days off and likely enjoy the break before they are back in action next Saturday night at the Q Centre as they host the Powell River Kings. Three nights later on Tuesday 16 Dec, will be the team's first "Toonie Night" as fans can get into the building for only a Toonie. Now if you will excuse me, I would write more, but I just talked to my doctor and she wants me to come in for a quick blood pressure checkup. Apparently long term exposure to The Drama Kings is not so good for emotionally invested people like myself who have bought in hook, line and sinker on this amazing hockey team out in Colwood.

Do check out this great video by Roy Anthonisen and our crack Grizzlies Video Team at:

Oh and if any of you see Tom around the rink this week, tell him I will grab that kitchen sink off him if he still has it. I am in the middle of a kitchen reno at the moment and wouldn't mind saving a few bucks. See you next Saturday everybody. - CC

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