copyright TG Storey
What the heck did I just see? That's what people might have been asking themselves after the Olds Grizzlys, cliff hanger 8-7, overtime victory Friday night over the Camrose Kodiaks at the Olds Sportsplex, had they not been too busy checking themselves for remnants of the game. Sweat from the players, ice shards from the rink surface, wood splinters from the thundering body checks the boards. Maybe even shrapnel from skate blades pushed beyond design limits. Yes, that's that the kind of battle it was, a “Did You Get Any on You?” kind of affair.
There was absolutely everything you ever wanted to see in a hockey game: Sixty-two shots on net. Fifteen goals. At least two fights, eight power play opportunities. Blistering fast, end to end hockey. And a home team victory to give the home town fans the warm-fuzzies. What a night.
It started off innocently enough with most of the play being in the Grizzlys' end. Looked like it might be another losing night for the home team. But then the bizarre happened. At 2:07 of the First Period, the Grizzlys scored on their first shot on goal. SCORED ON THEIR FIRST SHOT ON GOAL! Gotta be a fluke, right?
A sweet little number from a five man scramble in front of the Kodiaks' net. Six men if you include the Kodiaks goal tender. Number 27, Olds forward, Dalton OSSMAN did the deed with help from Mitchell VISSER # 37 (F) and Hayden STRUIK #4 (D). Number 5, Olds Forward, Logan Bromhead gets honorable mention from me for his assistance in the fray.
If you're into pictures check below and you'll see the Olds crew working the net front for the first goal.
Olds fans just had time to nicely recover from the excitement of that goal when the Grizzlys scored again, four minutes and a bit later, at 6:59. It was Olds Forward, # 21, Jeremy KLESSENS assisted by Owen GUENTER, # 11 (F), and James ORBAN, # 22 (F). Klessens received a pass from the corner to the left of the Kodiak goalie and delivered a quick slap shot with laser accuracy from about 40 feet out. The score is now two-zilch for Olds.
The puck barely hits the ice after the post-goal face off and the Grizzlys pop the puck in the Kodiaks net for goal number three. Twelve seconds was all it took. At 7:11, Olds Forward # 37, Mitchell VISSER, assisted by Dalton OSSMAN, # 27 (F) and Logan BROMHEAD # 5 (F), flicked a shot into the opposition net from ten feet out and a little to the goal tender's left.
The score is now three-nada for Olds. Shots on goal are three apiece for Olds and Camrose.
Wait a minute. That makes three goals for the Grizzlys in three shots on net. Freaking amazing. They just may win this thing.
The Kodiaks pull their goal tender # 35, Griffin BOWERMAN and replace him with # 1, Landon PAVLISIN. And the game began to change.
Less than a minute after Pavlison takes over net for Camrose, the Kodiaks score. At 8:04 Camrose Forward, # 19, Matt DYKSTRA, beat the Olds goal tender, # 29, Andrew HENDERSON on his stick side. To be fair, Henderson didn't have much of a chance on it. An assisting Camrose player heading down the slot toward the Grizzlys' goal passed the puck to Dykstra, who was positioned close in on Henderson's right side. Dykstra fired a perfect wrist shot the instant the puck hit his stick. Henderson just didn't have time to get there.
It's now 3 – 1 for Olds. There have been 4 goals in just over 8 minutes. Shots on goal stand at 4 – 4. Some audience members seem ready to swoon.
Fortunately there is a bit of relief. Folks have a chance to get their breath. But not for long. Camrose scores on a power play at 13:53, made possible by a slashing penalty to Olds Grizzly Forward, # 9, Ryley SMITH. Kodiaks Forward, # 21, Ryan HARTMAN got the man advantage goal with two team mates assisting.
The First Period ends with the score at 3 -2 for Olds. Shots on goal were 10-6 in favor of the Camrose Kodiaks.
The Second Period began with a goal so quick some folks hadn't got back from the snack bar. Fourteen seconds in and a hungry Camrose team tied the game 3 -3 with a goal from Forward # 18, Kyler KUPKA, assisted by Forward, Nic CORREALE.
It was the first shot on goal of the Period.
That goal was answered 18 seconds later by Olds. The score is now 4 -3 for the Grizzlys thanks to what appeared to be a wrist shot at 34 seconds, from the edge of the faceoff circle to the right of the Kodiaks net, by Olds Forward, # 10, Estian COTZEE, assisted by Juliano SANTALUCIA, # 6 (D).
It was the second shot on goal of the Period. Two shots. Two goals. Thirty-four seconds. Never seen anything like this. MERCY!
For the next five minutes the Grizzlys seem to ease off the intensity of their play relative to the Kodiaks, if shots on goal are any indicator. And then misfortune. At 6:05, with both teams playing a man short due to penalties, Kodiaks Forward, # 18, Kyler KUPKA scored an unassisted goal. The score is now tied 4-4, with shots on goal of 18-8 in favor of Camrose.
KUPKA should have been subjected to metal detector check to see if maybe he had a horse shoe stuffed in his hockey jersey, cause 18 seconds later he scored with a shot from the Olds blue line. It appeared to me to be a deflection off one of the bodies between him and the net. Possibly screened as well. Camrose is now ahead 5-4 with more 17 shots on goal, more than double the Grizzlys 8 shots.
But if 9 goals total, in a Period and a bit of play wasn't exciting enough, the intensity of the game increases to blistering pace. Wide open, fast, hard hitting, end to end hockey. What a spectacle.
At 10:13 the puck is freed from a skirmish behind the Olds net and ends on the stick of Kodiaks Forward, # 21, Ryan Hartman. In the slot ten feet in front of the Grizzlys' goal, he didn't give the Olds goal tender much of a chance. Kodiaks goal number six pops into the Grizzlys' net. Camrose is now ahead by 2. Shots on net stand at 18 – 10, in their favor.
The battle continues hard and fast for another 8 minutes with neither team scoring. Then Olds Forward, # 9, Ryley SMITH, operating at Warp Drive, blasts up the right side of the rink with the puck, and carries it into the Kodiaks end. Estian COETZEE # 10 (F) delivers it past the Camrose goalie into the net, to bring the score to 6 -5 for Camrose. Also assisting on the goal was Cale CRIPPS, # 47 (D).
The period ended a minute and 34 seconds later. The Olds crew left the ice down by one goal and trailing the Kodiaks in shots on goal, 27 – 13.
What seemed, at the end of the First Period, to be a sure and easy Olds victory, is now looking difficult.
Both teams hit the ice as warriors in Period Three. Hard fast hockey. But it was the Kodiaks who scored first, with their second shot on goal of the period. Too many opposition players allowed unchecked in front of the Olds goal for just a few seconds too long. The Kodiaks, Carson WELKE # 7 (F), assisted by two team mates, got one past the Grizzlys' goalie. Olds is now down 7 – 5. Are they doomed?
Three minutes later, it's Grizzlys Forward# 22, James ORBAN to the rescue. He scores at 8:33 with help from Forward, # 21, KLESSENS and Defenseman # 4, BOWMAN. The score is 7-6 for Camrose.
Check out the accompanying photo to see the circumstance of the goal.
At 16:18, it's Klessens tying the game with assistance from Forward, # 11, Owen GUENTER and Defenceman # 3, Austin PICKFORD. WOO HOO. There's joy in the hood tonight. We're headed for Overtime. Check out the photo. Better than words any time.
That pain in your throat isn't a chicken bone, or a hiatus hernia. It's your heart, brothers and sisters. Can Olds pull out a victory in sudden death Overtime playing three attackers against three? The answer is…….YES!
Ryley SMITH, OLDS Forward #9, the guy with WARP DRIVE capability, slides one into the opposition net with help from Estian COETZEE. The game is over. The Grizzlys have done it with an 8-7 overtime win, although being outshot 42-20. Well done, Gents.
I was too busy getting a camera lens focused on the action to have witnessed the fine details of the winning goal. Like you, I'll have to check out the pictures attached. But first a bit of rest to recover from the excitement. A person can take only so much. And the Olds Grizzlys playing on home ice can overwhelm. WHEW, what a game.