Revelstoke Grizzlies look to keep momentum as playoffs near

The division-leading Revelstoke Grizzlies' current win streak dates back to Dec. 1. The team hopes to carry their momentum forward as the playoffs approach.

FILE PHOTO: The Revelstoke Grizzlies haven't lost a game since December 1 and sit in first place in their division as they head into back-to-back home games against 100 Mile House this weekend. Photo: Matthew Timmins/Revelstoke Mountaineer

For a moment last Friday it looked as if the Grizzlies streak might be over. Down 4-2 heading into the third period against the Kelowna Chiefs, the team hadn’t lost a game since December 1.

It wasn’t until the ten-minute mark of the third when rookie Josh Irvine netted his second goal of the game that it looked like the hometown team might have a chance of keeping their no-loss streak alive.

That’s also when the hometown crowd stepped it up a notch. Six minutes later, Grizzlies captain Tommy Bodtker put the puck past Kelowna goalie Reign Turley and the crowd erupted as Bodtker and his teammates slammed into the corner boards in celebration in front of the hometown fans, like they have after so many third period goals this season.

The rest, as they say, is history. After just one minute of overtime Grizzlies defenceman Ullar Wiatzka found the net after a rush, giving Revelstoke the overtime win, extending their no-loss streak to seven games giving Grizzlies fans something to scream about.

Ullar Wiatzka celebrates his game-winning overtime goal against the Kelowna Chiefs last Friday. The Revelstoke Grizzlies haven’t lost a game since December 1 and sit in first place in their division as they head into back-to-back home games against 100 Mile House this weekend.
Photo: Matthew Timmins/Revelstoke Mountaineer

“We had a complete boost having the crowd get into it late, and we owe at least part (of the win) to the fans for getting us back into it and pushing us to get the win in overtime,” says Revelstoke Grizzlies Tommy Bodtker. “It’s a lot easier to win at home, and we’re taking full advantage of that.”

This is Bodtker’s third season with the Grizzlies, and for him, it’s the best season he’s had with the team as they head into the second half of the season with the playoffs on their minds.

“I want to go far, I want to win something with the team this year,” he says. “Over the last three years this is by far the best [team], just all around we’ve got a super solid lineup.”

The Grizzlies sit at the top of their division, with Chase, nine points behind them, the next closest team.

Although not all the games have been as close as the last one — there have been some blowout wins as well — coach Ryan Parent says the team is enjoying finding ways to get wins (such as their overtime comeback win last Friday).

This year 15 out of the 25-player roster are rookies. Strictly talking points, Cody Flann leads all rookie Grizzlies with 18 goals, but Parent says the entire group of rookies is full of talent and are all pulling their weight.

“It’s led by a really talented group of veterans who have set their egos aside to make this happen. They’ve set aside their egos to make each other look good and make each other successful,” Parent says.

Like Bodtker, Parent also credits the fans for creating an exciting home venue to play in. In his four years in Revelstoke he says this is the most support he’s seen. “Every year our goal is to build it and try and get it a little better and get support from local fans and some support from fans coming into Revelstoke who may or may not have been to a hockey game before,” he says, referring to visitors from out of town or overseas who may not be as familiar with the game as Canadians. “Coming to Revelstoke is kind of the ultimate Canadian experience.”

Looking ahead the Grizzlies have back-to-back home games against 100 Mile House, which Parent and Bodtker say will be tough hockey games as 100 Mile likes to throw their weight around, but Parent is confident the Grizzlies can play a skilled and disciplined couple of games.

“We had a really tough playoff series against them a couple years ago,” Bodtker adds, agreeing that it could be a physical couple of games.

Heading into the rest of January and February the team only has two away games and 11 home games until the playoffs start, giving Grizzlies fans, old and new, lots of chances to catch some of the action at the Revelstoke Forum this winter.

Matthew Timmins
Matthew Timmins is an Ontario-born photographer with a background in photojournalism. After working at local newspapers in Canmore, Banff and Jasper, he moved to Revelstoke for three years. He has spent the last two years travelling in New Zealand, Australia, Southeast Asia and Northern Europe. He now lives in Revelstoke again and can be reached at 226-688-8528.