Grizzlys to keep playoff run going

The Olds Grizzlys are distinct underdogs heading into tonight’s opening game of the best-of-seven Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division final with the host Brooks Bandits.

The Olds Grizzlys are distinct underdogs heading into tonight’s opening game of the best-of-seven Alberta Junior Hockey League South Division final with the host Brooks Bandits.

So what else is new? The Grizzlys were in the same position — albeit to a lesser degree — when they faced the Calgary Mustangs and the Okotoks Oilers earlier in the postseason, yet they’re still playing.

“That’s something that we’ve dealt with since we came back from the Christmas break,” Grizzlys head coach Brett Hopfe said of his club’s supposed disadvantaged status. “We were two points out of last place (in the South) and pretty much every game after Christmas was an underdog type of game, so that’s a role we’re comfortable with.

“Certainly we’re excited to be playing against a great team like Brooks. We’re excited about competing against the best.”

While the Grizzlys have played 10 post-season games during ‘upsets’ of the Mustangs and Oilers, who finished 20 and 23 points ahead of fifth-place Olds during the regular season, the Bandits have played just four — a semifinal sweep of the Calgary Mustangs after gaining a first-round bye as the top team in the South.

Lacombe native Cam Maclise is the Bandits’ top playoff scorer with four goals and seven points, while Colten Semenok (2-4) has six points and Dylan Nowakowski (0-5) and David Watt (0-5) have each produced five points for an explosive and deep squad that scored a league-high 131 goals during the regular season.

Olds finished a whopping 51 points back of Brooks this season.

Mitch Owsley (7-5) and Bart Moran (6-6) have paced the Grizzlys with 12 points apiece during the playoffs. Dylan Hubbs is close behind with 11 points (5-6), while Casey Rogers (2-6) and rugged Lucas Grundy have been keys on the blueline, although Grundy will miss the first three games of the series due to suspension.

“For sure, we’re playing our best hockey of the season,” said Hopfe. “The guys have bought into a team-style type of game. They’re sacrificing for each other in that dressing room.

“There are guys who don’t play every shift every night and guys who don’t play at all throughout a series, but they come to practice and they work hard. They’re dedicated to the team and what will happen if they sacrifice for their team, so I’m pretty proud of how they’re playing.”

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series goes Saturday at Brooks, with the third and fourth games set for Monday and Tuesday — 7:30 p.m. both nights — at the Olds Sports Complex.

gmeachem@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Red Deer Rebels will have three new assistant coaches when the WHL regular season starts on Friday. Brad Flynn (left), will be on the bench alongside fellow assistant Ryan Colville (right) head coach Brent Sutter (middle). (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Sutter steps down as Red Deer Rebels head coach

Red Deer Rebels Owner, GM and head coach Brent Sutter has stepped… Continue reading

Premier Jason Kenney announced $200 million more money that will benefit seniors living in continuing care on Wednesday. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program expanding

Alberta’s in-school rapid screening test program will expand to as many as… Continue reading

Parents and students learned Tuesday what the coming school year will look like. It's pretty much back to business as usual, said Education Minister Adriana LaGrange. School precautions include frequent cleaning, keeping students in the same groups where possible, planning the school day to allow for physical distancing and staying home when sick. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta’s largest school board says no to United Conservative draft school curriculum

CALGARY — Alberta’s largest school board says it will not use the… Continue reading

Cowboy Kicks, originally scheduled for May 5, will now take place Sept. 18. (Contributed photo)
Westerner Park’s Cowboy Kicks fundraiser moved to Sept. 18

A major fundraiser for Westerner Park and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Josh Tarzwell tries to tip a point shot past Lethbridge Hurricanes goalie Car Tetachuk in WHL action Friday night at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels struggles continue, drop seventh straight to Hurricanes

Hurricanes score three power-play goals in 6-3 win

Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan is among those who have signed an open letter criticizing the government’s return to stricter health measures. (Advocate file photo).
Updated: Kenney tells UCP caucus COVID-19 dissent OK, breaking health rules means expulsion

15 MLAs released letter on Wednesday critical of new health restrictions

Team Canada skip Brendan Bottcher makes a shot against Italy at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, April 6, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Men’s world curling championship in Calgary in COVID limbo

CALGARY — The men’s world curling championship in Calgary remained suspended Saturday… Continue reading

Pipes intended for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline are shown in Gascoyne, N.D. on Wednesday April 22, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alex Panetta
Non-profit Quebec law centre to aid environmental group targeted by Alberta oil firm

QUEBEC — The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid… Continue reading

Conservative leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservatives cite empathy, relationships as ways to help expand their movement

OTTAWA — Conservatives should show empathy with Black residents who say they’ve… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. New Democrats are reconvening for the second day of a three-day policy convention as they look to push past the glitches of the virtual event's opening sessions and rally around keynote speaker John Horgan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
New Democrats reconvene as hiccups, frustrations plague national policy convention

OTTAWA — New Democrats reconvened Saturday for the second day of a… Continue reading

Owner of 4 Point Taekwondo Kevin Mejia holds a board as organizer and martial artist Kevin Olsen breaks it in Edmonton on Friday, April 9, 2021. One hundred martial artists from around the world, will be breaking a board for an event called "Break for a Breakthrough." The idea is for martial artists to unite and re-engage with the arts because they may have drifted away or lost enthusiasm as a result of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Break for a Breakthrough: Canadian hosts international martial arts demonstration

EDMONTON — Whether he’s breaking a wooden board, a clay tile, cement… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Ediburgh, left, look on as Manitoba Beaver peaks out of his box at a July 14, 1970 ceremony in which Hudson's Bay Company observed an old tradition. The death of Prince Philip has reminded a small French village in Manitoban about how a royal visit half a century ago made the community the centre of frog racing in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Prince Philip’s frog-jumping legacy in a Manitoba French community

WINNIPEG — The death of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has reminded… Continue reading

The Yukon provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Monday July 6, 2020. Yukon residents will head to the polls on Monday for Canada's fourth election held during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Yukon residents set to vote in fourth election held in Canada during pandemic

WHITEHORSE — Yukon residents will head to the polls on Monday for… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday, March 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals set to debate universal basic income, pharmacare, OAS hike

OTTAWA — Grassroots Liberals have taken up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call… Continue reading

Most Read