Sunday, 4 January 2015

The War On The Shore: Kings v Grizzlies Meeting #5

I always loved that Chris Farley SNL Weekend Update routine he did one night way back in the early 90s during the First Gulf War in 1991.  He was playing the role of US General, Norman Shwarzkopf. In typical Farley fashion his wild and impassioned personality took over the comedy as he slammed the Weekend Update desk demanding a boxing match between himself and then Heavy Weight Champion of The World, Evander Holyfield.  "I WANT HOLYFIELD!" he bellowed, "Its the War On The Shore!"

Well the Powell River Kings may not be Evander Holyfield, nor the Victoria Grizzlies be the likeness of a gregarious Farley, but the three straight games at the Hap Parker Arena which the BCHL schedule makers have graced us with early in 2015, certainly are living up a "Shwarzkopf vs Holyfiled" title fight. Any look at last night's action would certainly live up to that billing regardless of the eventual 4-1 outcome in favour of the Kings. But hold that thought for a moment.

Here is a quick trivia question for you: How many times this season have the Victoria Grizzlies been shut out in a hockey game? If you were listening to last night's game at the Hap Parker Arena you will know that the answer is zero. I got it wrong, largely because I didn't trust my initial thought, (sure we believe you, whatever). At any rate, you may never guess how many other BCHL teams can boast that obscure stat this season?  Three in fact, Alberni Valley Bulldogs, Powell River Kings and Coquitlam Express each have also yet to be shut out in a game this season. Everyone else has suffered at least one shutout against. 

The Grizzlies won't take much consolation from that though, especially with the way the game broke down into a full on line brawl at the midway point of Period #3 with the game at 4-0 already in favour of the Kings. It was a particularly tough spot to see the team, after a Grizzlies neutral zone turnover and a Powell River rush,  Jarid Lukosevicius scored the Kings' 4th goal on the night and somehow in the melee, knocked Michael Stiliadis into the net after the goal. With Stiliadis collecting his mask while a Kings goal mouth celebration was breaking out in his crease, tempers finally boiled over and a line brawl ensued. Cole Pickup left the game for facial repairs and a Game Misconduct penalty but he fought well and stood up for his goalie and his team. Nick Guiney was also involved and ended up with the much larger Carmine Buono to dance with, but Guiney stood up well for himself in the after action mess.

It was just that kind of night, a tough one for the visitors, no doubt. The Grizzlies would answer and score the final goal of the hockey game at no less than 19:51 of the 3rd period. It would be credited to Mitch Barker with Meirs Moore picking up the sole assist even though Jay Mackie had rushed the puck straight to the net. I suspect video review will solve that later this week. Funny enough the goal was scored in the very final moments of the game, did two things. First the goal ruined the shutout attempt by Kings net minder Brett Magnus, but secondly it ensured the fact that the Grizzlies remain only the 4th team in the BCHL to not have fallen victim to the dreaded shutout. The Grizzlies were 2-2 vs the Kings heading into last night's action but now trail 3-2 in the season long series.

The big point on the night however is the fact that the Grizzlies will be forced by the schedule makers to return to the Hap Parker Arena next Friday and Saturday nights for not one but two more consecutive games against the Kings. If tempers were this hot after three periods of play, I can only imagine what The War On The Shore Episode #6 will bring. 

Fortunately the weekend wasn't an entire washout as the Grizzlies were successful on Friday night at the Q Centre as they defeated the visiting Cowichan Valley Capitals 6-3, sending the Caps back over the Malahat with a loss. Those points were vital and have kept the Grizzlies locked at 42 points in a virtual two way tie with the Kings after last night's action. The Grizzlies still have two games in hand on the Kings thankfully, but the next two games coming up at the Hap Parker will be crucial to the season standings.

I will close with a funny story and leave you with this though for the week.

After the loss, a Grizzlies defenseman who shall remain anonymous was getting on the team bus last night when obviously everybody was down in the dumps and morale was quite low. He stopped before he found his seat and looked at me while he was in the middle of picking his teeth with a piece of cardboard.

He was calm, cool, collected and best of all he was totally self confident about his present circumstances. He kind of half-smiled at me and "matter o factly" said to me, "We'll get em next week." He then went back to dislodging whatever food particle was annoying his mouth and he shuffled quietly to the back of the bus to find his seat. That's it, end of story, nothing more needed to be said. I just sat there in total astonishment at his calm demeanour and cool confidence in the face of such a proposition. I must admit that I was also somewhat impressed with the young man's personal sense of dental hygiene. Impressive it was.

I think that attitude will serve the team well this week in preparation for the next chapter of The War On The Shore. Talk to you Friday night everybody. -CC

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