The Olds Grizzlys travelled to Calgary and Brooks on Sept. 13 and 14 to take on the Mustangs and Bandits in their respective home openers.
Thursday's matchup in Calgary featured plenty of goals and penalties that seen a last minute comeback attempt just fall short as the Grizzlys lost 6 – 5 at the hands of the Mustangs. For the third game in a row, seen the opposing team score first only 1:48 into the opening period. The Mustangs continued to find their scoring touch and by the midway point of the first period, the Grizzlys were down 3 – 0. Tanner Dunkle responded for the Grizz at 14:02 assisted by newcomer Mitch Makin. The Mustangs responded once again, to take the lead 4 – 1 heading into the first intermission.
The second period seemed difficult to carry any momentum for either team as the period featured 23 penalties called. The Grizzlys struck first with a powerplay goal just over four minutes in (Brandon Clowes from Matt Hanger and Landon Viveiros) but once again the Mustangs had an answer to retain their 3 goal lead. Hanger responded two minutes later from Blair Oneschuk but once again the Mustangs fired back leaving the score 6 – 3 at the end of two.
Playing desperate hockey, the Grizzlys made a third period comeback attempt only to fall short by one goal. The first of the period was another powerplay marker scored by Oneschuk assisted by Mitch Owsley and Spencer Dorowicz. Just past the halfway mark, Bart Moran notched his team leading 4th goal of the year assisted by Owsley and Hanger. The Grizzlys finished with 40 shots and the Mustangs finished with 19 shots. Player of the Game for Olds was Matt Hanger.
The following evening, Olds continued down the road to Brooks for the Bandits home opener. In a night that saw the Brooks Bandits raise the AJHL Championship Banner from the prior year, Olds was out for revenge as the Bandits were the team who knocked Olds out last year.
Brooks opened the scoring once again on the Grizzlys to take a 1 – 0 lead on the powerplay 2:09 into the game. Sean Davies responded for the Grizzlys five minutes later assisted by Chase Paylor which capped off the scoring in the first to see the teams tied at one a piece at the end of the first.
The Bandits lethal powerplay took control of the second period as they notched two goals on the man advantage to take a 3 -1 lead into the second intermission. The Grizzlys went into the third period battling from behind once again. At the 13:40 mark, Paylor notched his first of the season to make it a one goal game. As been the common theme in the early part of the season, a last minute desperate comeback attempt just fell short for the boys in Black in Gold as the scoreboard showed a 3 – 2 victory for the Bandits at the sound of the final buzzer. The Bandits outshot the Grizzlys 25 – 19 and went 3 for 6 on the powerplay. The Grizz finished the evening 0 for 4 on the powerplay. Player of the Game for the Grizzlys went to Chase Paylor.
The Grizzlys continue on their road trip as they head to Calgary to face the Canucks this Wednesday before hitting the highway up north to face Bonneyville and Lloydminster Friday and Saturday. The next home game will be Monday, Sept. 24 in the Battle of the Bears as the Camrose Kodiaks come to town. Puck drop is 7:30pm at the Olds Sportsplex.