Much like the Olds Grizzlys season up to this point, this weekend featured a roller coaster of ups and downs of emotions. After snapping an 8 game losing streak last Tuesday in Calgary against the Mustangs, the Grizz defeated Whitecourt and Fort McMurray on home ice to create a 3 game streak the other direction. This weekend seen newly acquired Olds Grizzly, Matthew Marcinew, make his debut on Saturday – and what a debut it was as Marcninew notched a hat trick in his first game in the #21 Black and Gold jersey. The crowd stood in silence twice this weekend – once for the emotional Remembrance Day Ceremony which honored Veteran Ken Johnston and secondly when Grizzlys defenceman Lucas Grundy lay on the ice unconscious after a fight. To the relief of everyone in attendance, Grundy was released from the hospital that evening and was back at the arena to catch the end of the third period.
Saturday evening was the first time in the Whitecourt Wolverines history that they paid a visit to the Olds Sportsplex. For the Wolverines, it was a visit they will wish to forget. Whitecourt opened the scoring at the 13:14 mark of the first period (Guertin from Raymond and Abt) but then it was time for the newest member of the Grizzlys to ignite the crowd. Matthew Marcinew, recently acquired from the Lloydminster Bobcats in exchange for Tanner Dunkle, replied 45 seconds later to get his first as a Grizzly and tie the game up at one. Assists went to linemates Brandon Clowes and Mitch Owsley. No other goals would be exchanged as both teams headed into the first intermission with one goal apiece.
The second period was one of the greatest periods of Grizzlys hockey played in recent history. Captain Bart Moran got the ball rolling with a beautiful short-handed partial breakaway goal three minutes into the period. The goal came unassisted. Then at the 6:52 mark, Dylan Hubbs went to work roofing a pass top shelf from Moran, and then scoring another at the 8:22 mark from BJ Duffin and Spencer Dorowicz. Both goals came even strength. Less than thirty seconds later, Olds kept the pressure poured on as Chris Stachiw crept in from the point and knocked the puck past goalie Tanner Kovacs. The lone assist went to Austin Kernahan. Marcinew wasn’t close to being finished as he followed up with two more to complete the hat trick in his inaugural game. The first came at 9:09, an even strength marker from Stachiw and Clowes. The second, a powerplay marker, at 16:59 with the lone assist going to Clowes. The hat trick was the Grizzlys second hat trick of the season (Clowes had the first). Jordan Lajimodiere then decided to get in the action with a powerplay goal of his own – a bar-down shot with assists going to Dorowicz and Hubbs. In total, the period seen the Grizzlys score 7 goals (8 in a row including the goal from the first period) and keep the Wolverines completely off the scoresheet.
The Grizz headed into the third with and 8-1 lead and played the period very conservatively. It was simple dump and chase hockey with not many chances exchanged between either teams. The only goal came at the 3:36 mark from Whitecourt to make the score 8-2 (Warmington unassisted), which would be the final. Despite the result on the scoreboard, Whitecourt actually outshot Olds 30-29. The Wolverines went 0 for 7 with the man advantage while Olds went 20% (2 for 10). The game seen some players move up in the scoring race as several skated away with multi-point games particularly Hubbs with 3 (2 G, 1 A), Clowes with 3 (0 G, 3 A) and Marcinew with 3 (3 G, 0 A) who finished as Player of the Game for Olds. Goaltender Ethan Jemieff was credited with the win.
Less than 15 hours later, the Grizzlys were on the ice again versus the Fort McMurray Oil Barons for a Sunday afternoon matinee. The Oil Barons were seeking for a victory after losing 5-0 to Brooks the night before. Before puck drop, a heart-felt Remembrance Day Ceremony took place which honored 31 year Veteran and Olds Grizzlys volunteer Ken Johnston.
It was apparent the Grizzlys did not lose their scoring touch as Mitch Owsley scored 3:58 into the period. The even strength goal was assisted by Hubbs and Moran. However, with Olds in the penalty box, the Oil Barons struck back on the powerplay to tie up the game (Hendrix from Durkee and Lacroix). The Grizzlys third line went to work before the period was over as Blair Oneschuk drove the puck wide and cut to the net slipping it by goalie Ethan Wood. Assists went to Chase Paylor and BJ Duffin.
With the Grizzlys leading 2-1, no goals were scored in the second period although it featured an unbelievable glove save with seconds remaining by Grizzlys goalie, Ethan Jemieff. It took just over five minutes into the third period for Fort McMurray to tie the game at two (Gayle from Stadnicki and Teets). The Oil Barons then began to take control as the Grizz seemed a bit tired. Some great saves from Jemieff and blocked shots by the defenceman kept the score even. Then with six minutes left in the game, Hubbs picked up the puck at centre ice, drove the defenceman wide and fired a low shot on net. The rebound kicked out to the slot and with Moran driving the net, fired the puck into the open cage. With 1:31 remaining, Olds found themselves in the penalty box. The Oil Barons had their goalie pulled and had the pressure on, but with 18 seconds remaining Clowes chopped at the puck at centre ice which found the back of the net to secure the 4-2 victory.
The Grizzlys went 0 for 2 on the powerplay and killed off 4 of 5 penalties. Ethan Jemieff, who earnerd Player of the Game for Olds, made 47 saves as the Grizz were outshot 49-33. The win was the third in a row for Olds after skidding an 8 game losing streak. The Grizzlys now sit with 21 points and are 5 points out of second in the extremely tight South Division. The Grizz next take on the Calgary Mustangs at home for a critical match up this Tuesday at 7:30pm.