COPYRIGHT TG Storey
The win by 6th place, southern division, Olds Grizzlys against 4th place, northern division Grande Prairie Storm was anything but a sure thing. Unlikely was more like. Especially considering the size of one of the Storms’ forwards. Tall piece of work that lad. Six foot five. Like to call him Eclipse cause he blots out the sun when he walks by. But, ironically, he goes by the name of Moon, Logan Moon, #21.
Watching early first period play made an Olds win seem even more improbable. Olds players would check members of the opposing team and seem to just bounce off, leaving the Storm to continue on with the puck, unhindered.
And continue on they did. The Storm was first to score with a goal at 10:25. Watching the event from the opposite end of the arena it seemed to me that Olds Goalie, Andrew Henderson, made a good first save on a shot from his left. But the puck got loose, and there was a quick pass across the front of the net to Henderson’s right side. Pass recipient, Grande Prairie Forward # 13, Connor BLAKE, didn’t hesitate. He shot from the lower part of the faceoff circle and beat the Olds Goal Tender.
Having seen the path of the puck, Goalie, Henderson, did make it to the right hand side of the net, but had little time to set up to stop the shot from the Storms’ forward. Grande Prairie moved ahead 1-0. Shots on goal were 4 – 5 in favor of the Storm.
But then the Grizzlys started playing smart, and demonstrated what I’m beginning to see as the results of some really good coaching. Olds Forward, # 5, Logan Bromhead, a relative lightweight at 160 pounds, chose to body check a massive Grande Prairie player into the boards.
At first it looked impossible. But Bromhead came in low, body bent, and hip checked the opposing player into the boards. THUMP! Well freaking done.
And a little over 6 minutes later, it was Bromhead again, digging out the puck and assisting on a Grizzlys’ Power Play goal by # 7, Forward, Chase OLSEN. Also assisting was # 14, Olds Forward, Quentin GREENWOOD.
The shot was delivered at 16:40 at a tight angle, hard to the left of the Storms’ goalie. It beat him on his glove hand side.
WHOO HOO! Game is tied, 1 – 1. Shots on goal 10 -7 in favor of Olds.
The early part of the Second Period was marred by a fight in the corner, to the right of the Grande Prairie goal tender. An odd affair it was. Initially the Olds player, (believe it was # 15, Jack BERGER) was being held by the jersey and pummelled in the head by the Storm player, six foot five, Logan Moon. But the Grizzlys’ player had his right fist clenched and held low by his hip. I looked away for a second. When I looked back both players were on the ice with the officials jumping in to stop the fight.
What happened? A spectator right next to the action said that the Olds player simply grabbed the larger Grande Prairie player by the sweater, threw him to the ice, and pounced on him. Evidently you don’t want to mess with a Grizzly.
Mid-period, Olds Defenceman, # 24,Hayden STRUIK, made a nice scoring attempt with a shot from the blue line. Reminded me of the style of play of the legendary Boston Bruins Defenceman, Bobby ORR.
Struik received the puck on a pass and fired it towards the Storm goal immediately. No hesitation to give the Grande Prairie goalie time to react. Unfortunately the shot was a bit wide of the net.
No matter. At 11:52 Grizzlys # 7, Forward, Chase OLSEN scored for the second time. He was tight in front of the net, just a bit to the Storm goalie’s right. He received a pass from the bottom of the faceoff circle, also to the goalie’s right, and stuffed the puck in the net. Score is now 2 – 1 for Olds. Shots on goal 23-13 in the Grizzlys favor.
Assisting on the goal were # 8, Defenceman, Aiden MUCENSKI and # 5, Forward, Logan Bromhead. That freaking Bromhead again! (LOL)
Honorable mention goes to Grizzlys Defenceman # 3, Austin PICKFORD, who sent Storm Forward, # 12, WALTERS, hard into the boards. SPLAT!
The THIRD PERIOD opened with a breath taking moment and some dirty play. There was momentary celebration by the Storm line in front of the Olds net, at the other end of the rink from me. The Storm thought they scored. But no goal was allowed.
Grizzly player, # 19, Forward, Jaren TURNQUIST, was dropped to the ice in front of the Olds net by an apparent high stick to the face. Storm Forward, # 15, COTE, was penaltied 2 minutes for high sticking. Dirty, dangerous play guys!
Play continued throughout the Third Period, hard, fast and furious. Another honorable mention to Grizzlys’ Defenceman # 3, Austin PICKFORD, for checking Storm Forward, # 12, WALTERS, hard into the boards yet again. SPLAT!
Slowed Walters right down. Funny how a good, clean check will do that.
But he wasn’t slowed down for long. At 16:10 Walters scored. Right place. Right time. He got his stick on a rebound coming off the pads of the Olds Goal Tender. Close into the net, he popped the puck past Grizzlys’ net minder, Henderson. Assisting were Grande Prairie Forward, # 10, COMEAU, and Defenceman # 7, THOMSON. The score is tied 2 – 2 for Olds. OH NO!
But do not dismay, Olds Grizzlys’ fans. Help is on the way. At 17:00 big Olds Forward, # 10, Estian COETZEE earns hero of the night honors by plunking in the “go- ahead” goal. Assisting were # 7, Olds Forward, OLSEN, and # 14 Forward, GREENWOOD.
The goal was an amazing piece of work. Olds # 14, Greenwood got hold of the puck from Olsen. He tried to set up a shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle to the right of the Storm goalie. But the goalie was tight up against the right side goal post. He had the angle covered. There was no shot.
So Greenwood passed the puck to Coetzee, who was 4 meters out from the net in on the left side of the slot. Thing was, he was being shadowed by two Grande Prairie players.
Didn’t matter. Coetzee was watching Greenwood with the puck. Waiting. Hoping for the pass.
Coetzee moved closer to the net. Only two meters away from the net. Greenwood makes the pass.
Coetzee has two Storm players attacking him now, one on each side, digging for the puck. Somehow he gets a shot away, from one meter out.
The Grande Prairie goalie sees it, does the splits to try and block it with his left skate.
Too late. The puck is past him and into the net. GOAL! GOAL! Olds pulls ahead 3-2. Way to go Coetzee.
Shots on goal now 37 – 26 for Olds. Time left to play, 2:55. Can Olds hold onto the lead?
THE WAY IT ENDED??
In a way it was kind of sad Grizzlys’ fans. Olds not only held onto the lead, it scored another goal making it 4 -2.
The Grande Prairie Storm pulled its goalie in a desperation play and Olds scored an empty net goal. It was # 5 Logan Bromhead, who did the trick, unassisted. That freaking Bromhead (LOL).
Olds wouldn’t have won this game had it been played earlier in the season. Every home game I’ve watched, the Grizzlys have shown improvement. Smarter play. More disciplined. Better passing. Better protection of the slot in front of the home goal. Better occupation of the slot in front of the opposition net.
My compliments to players and coaches alike.