Sunday, 22 November 2015

Flying Under The Radar, Grizzlies Saga Continues

Before we start this BCHL Grizzlies blog I have just one thing to say:  The CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders (I will never call them the Renegades or the Red Blacks or whatever they are supposed to be called these days) are going to the Grey Cup next Sunday!!!  OK, I am done now, back to the Grizzlies.

Could a repeat of the 1981 Grey Cup avenge #77 Tony Gabriel's outrageous, "Triple Offensive Pass Interference" call?
As this Grizzlies Club approaches the halfway mark of the 2015/16 season, if I had to sum up the season in one word I would say: "under the radar".  OK, fine, that's technically three words but you get the idea.

I recently noticed something which may prove my point.  Have you seen the latest Subway Poll on the BCHL Web Site?  The latest poll asks BCHL fans to decide whom they think is the BCHL's fastest skater. I enjoy these polls and I never, ever pass up an opportunity to cast a vote. But Keyvan Mokhtari didn't even make the list for some reason.  That tells me that the Grizzlies are literally flying at tree top level at this point in the 2015/16 season.  Nobody is paying any attention to this team and that suits me just fine. 

So why is that?  Why are the Grizzlies off of everyone's radar?  With all due respect to any Eagles fans reading this blog, if your team starts the year 1-10 and one of your losses is at home vs South Surrey and your "1-10 team" also sports the league worst Powerplay with the most SHGA, chances are that you won't be turning too many heads.

Nope, as we approach the halfway mark on this season, I think it is safe to say that the Victoria Grizzlies may be the least talked about team in the league by BCHL pundits.  And that also suits me just fine.

But here is what is really interesting to me:  the Grizzlies are now 6-3-0-1 in their last ten games, which makes them the hottest team in the Island Division over that period of time.  Remember too that during that stretch, the Grizzlies lost twice to the Trail Smoke Eaters for reasons which still elude even the most knowledgeable BCHL experts.  In short, the Grizzlies are doing just fine for a team which returned only 6 veterans who played for all of last season.

Alleged designer of Grizzlies 2015/16 Schedule
What is also pretty impressive is that due to a Machiavellian designed schedule, the Grizzlies have played no less than two straight 3 game back to back sets in 8 days and five of those six games were on the road.  Its not a season, its more like an ancient saga.  They are accomplishing all of this with a Powerplay which has surrendered a league high 9 SHGA and is running at 7.81% efficiency on the road.   That is pretty unbelievable and when you think about it.

So how is this possible you ask?  here is how:

Nov 10 - Grizzlies 5 at Powell River 2. The Grizzlies, after nearly vomiting their entire way across the Strait of Georgia in one of the worst storms since Hurricane Katrina lead by Alex Peck, (Miley Cyrus's inspiration to the song "Wrecking Ball") and owner of the most sick jersey number in the BCHL, scored a SHG and an assist, an act which single handily doubled his season's offensive totals in one game.  He, along with his billet buddy, Brett Stirling on D, lead the club in breaking the collective spirit of the Kings to see the Grizzlies enjoy the first Regular Season win at The Hap Parker in almost two years.

Nov 13 - Grizzlies 3 at Coquitlam 4 (OT 2). Coming from behind, the Grizzlies force OT at the "Poirier Pin-Ball Palace" lead by the Smoothie Line of Gelsinger, Hahn and Livingstone along with the young and speedy Tyler Welsh and Keyvan Mokhtari, two players who also lead the league in "most hours spent in deep REM sleep" while travelling in a BCHL team bus this season.

Captain PJ Conlon with D-Day Veteran in Coquitlam on 13 Nov
Nov 14 - Grizzlies 3 at Merritt 2.  While playing in the league's smallest ice surface, towering 6'5'' forward Spencer Hunter's 2nd period blistering wrist shot from the top of the circle would find the net. The shot and ensuing goal which would normally have measured at 30' in most arenas but was closer to 10' at the Nicola Valley, would be credited to rookie phenom Welsh.  Welsh who was somehow confused by the referee with the "somewhat taller" Spencer Hunter, was not only on the bench at the time of the goal but was to his credit, like his line mate Mokhtari, wide awake and out of any REM sleep at the time of the go ahead marker by his more vertically endowed team mate. But the club would neither care nor complain about the box score or win and instead travel all night, arriving in Trail like frat house students at 7am the following morning to sleep about 3 hours before playing the Smokies at 3pm.

Grizzlies @0630 posing upon arrival at their Rossland BC chalet on 15 Nov
Nov 15 - Grizzlies 1 at Trail 2.  After team +/- leader, Dante Hahn (+11) would give the Grizz a first period 1-0 lead, the Grizzlies would suddenly realize in the second period that they were playing on about 15 minutes of sleep and fail to hold on, surrendering a crushing SHGA in the second and lose a squeaker at the oldest rink in the BCHL (Cominco Arena 1949).  They would then travel all night and look far worse than anything National Lampoon could ever conjure boarding a BC Ferry the next morning at Tswassen.  All the while knowing that they would be facing the Clippers at The Frank on Wednesday.

Nov 18 - Grizzlies 1 at Nanaimo 5.  Trailing 3-1 with one minute to play, the Grizzlies would give up the puck on  a bit of late high risk play in an effort to come back vs the always offensively powerful Clippers.  The good news was that the Grizzlies PP went 1 for 3 on the night on the strength of Cole Pickup's 8th goal on the season from Conlon and Massy.  The Grizzlies would outshoot the Clippers 31-27 in a game much closer than the score would indicate.

Nov 19 - Trail 3 at Grizzlies 2.  With a first period PP goal by Pickup and a short handed maker by Mokhtari (possible Goal of the Year candidate), the Grizzlies would squander a 2-0 lead and lose the game to a Smoke Eaters team who had apparently seen the movie Animal House and instead chose to travel the day prior in order to save bus legs. Trail would outlast the travel weary Grizzlies team who were running on less fumes than a Chrysler Cordova during the Carter Administration's 79' Oil Crisis.

#15 - Mokhtari's 19 Nov SHG vs Trail on Goal of The Year?
Nov 20 - Capitals 2 at Grizzlies 6.  In front of a season high nearly 1,200 fans at the Q Centre on Military Appreciation Night and with Coach Didmon completely changing around his line combinations, the Grizzlies would have a coming out party in a number of areas. Brayden Gelsinger would net 4 points on the night while Mokhtari would earn 3 himself.  But the story of the night was Chuck Bennis's impression of the WWE's "The Undertaker" as he gave Ayden MacDonald every reason to suddenly "come down with the flu" on the morning of 12 Jan, 2016 for the teams' next scheduled meeting.  The fight was so one-sided and primordial in nature, after breaking the internet on Saturday morning, YouTube put out a new directive forbidding the posting of any hockey fight videos containing the words "Chuck Bennis", "The Undertaker" or "This video hurts my eyes" until further notice.

BCHL pundits have suggested that this image may be the source of an expected flu epidemic at the ISC on 12 Jan, 2016
By the way, I never did cast a vote in that BCHL poll.  How do you vote in a poll which was missing the correct answer?  Go Renegades! -CC



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