The Grizzlys won their fourth in a row to open the annual Showcase Weekend in the afternoon matinee in Spruce Grove Wednesday. Olds defeated the Drayton Valley Thunder 2 – 1 at the TransAlta TriLeisure Centre which featured a 3:30pm start time – the opening game of Showcase. The win brought the Grizzlys record to 5 – 4 and second place in the south division.
Drayton opened the scoring in the first when rookie defenceman, Connor Bass, went to clear the puck from the front of the net and a bad bounce deflected off a shinpad into the net. The goal came 1:32 into the game. With Olds pouring on the pressure, Spencer Dorowicz got the monkey off his back scoring his first of the season on the powerplay at 14:02. The lone assist came from Brandon Clowes to tie the game up 1 – 1 going into the first intermission.
Olds began to take control of the game in the second period outshooting the Thunder 11 – 6. Tanner Dunkle put the Grizz ahead 2 – 1 with a goal late in the second period at the 17:25 mark. The even strength goal was assisted by Clowes and Dorowicz. Both teams exchanged chances in the third period but none that resulted in goals, giving the Grizz the 2 – 1 win.
Goalie Ethan Jemieff had another solid performance stopping 19 of the 20 shots he faced. The Grizzlys fired 30 shots at the Thunder netminder and finished the evening 1 for 10 on the powerplay. Grizz forward Tanner Dunkle won Player of the Game.
The following day, the Grizzlys took on the Drumheller Dragons at noon in a game that featured high tensions and plenty of penalties. The Dragons opened the scoring on the powerplay with five minutes left in the first to take a 1 – 0 lead going into the intermission.
Half way through the second period while on their own powerplay, Chris Stachiw wired a shot from the blueline into the net with the assists going to Lucas Grundy and Dylan Hubbs. Five minutes later, the Dragons responded scoring their second goal on the powerplay. Two minutes later while on the powerplay again, Drumheller scored to maintain a two goal lead heading into the final period. The period ended with fireworks as a line brawl broke out with 15 seconds remaining which seen Stachiw getting ejected and Grundy and Dorowicz in the box for over 10 minutes.
With the Grizzlys having to kill off a 6 minute penalty to start the third, the Dragons scored two more goals within the first five minutes to take a 5 – 1 lead. With emotions running high and time running out, Tony Keeler scored his first AJHL goal shorthanded only 20 seconds later with the lone assist going to Taylor Bilyk. At the 12:36 mark, the Grizz scored another shorthanded goal, this time coming from Dorowicz – his second in two days. The assist went to Clowes. With 1:15 remaining, Hubbs potted one with Moran and Clowes getting the helpers to make the score 5 – 4. The Grizzlys pulled goalie, Ethan Jemieff but their last minute desperation attempt fell short and Drumheller skated away with the victory.
All 5 goals for Drumheller came on the powerplay as the Grizzlys found themselves in the box 19 times. The Grizzlys special teams improved as they scored one on the powerplay and two shorthanded. Grizzlys goalie Jemieff faced 40 shots while the Grizz fired 35 shots the other direction. The loss puts the Grizzlys record to .500 going 5 – 5. Next for the Grizz will be at home Friday, Oct. 5 as they take on the Canmore Eagles. Puck drop is 7:30pm.