Kevin Kraus, head coach of the Revelstoke Grizzlies, patched together enough of a lineup to get his team past the Kamloops Storm on Sunday.
The Grizzlies beat the Storm 2-1 in a KIJHL game at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre. Kamloops, which had beaten the visiting Kelowna Chiefs 3-2 on Saturday, will go home-and-home with the Sicamous Eagles next weekend, with the teams playing here on Friday and in Sicamous on Saturday.
The Grizzlies got a hard-earned victory last night. Kraus, who used to patrol the blue-line for the WHL's Kamloops Blazers, was impressed with the effort, considering his team has a few injuries and forward Devon Hascarl was called up to play for the BCHL's West Kelowna Warriors.
"We played a short bench and played a simple game," Kraus said. "As the game went on, we got better."
Of course, it also helps when your goaltender plays well.
That was the case with Aaron Brandoli, who made 41 saves, including 16 in the first period, in which the Storm badly outplayed the Grizzlies but couldn't score.
"He's been struggling lately, and he wanted this one tonight," Kraus said. "We gave him the start, and he proved he could do it. I'm really happy with him."
Revelstoke built off Brandoli's strong play in the second period, with Spencer Samuel scoring twice - one by bouncing the puck off Storm defenceman Daniel Buchanan, the other by tipping it out of mid-air and past goaltender Marcus Beesley.
It was crummy luck for the Storm, which played excellent in the first and third periods.
"All in all, I thought we played very hard," said Kamloops head coach Brad Priestlay. "A couple bounces went the other way, and a couple bounces didn't go our way."
Kamloops' Devin Oakes scored a third-period goal for the Storm, which is 10-6-2-2 and second in the Doug Birks Division. The Grizzlies are 9-7-1-1 and fourth in the division, but only seven points out of first.
Kraus, who also is the Grizzlies' general manager, said it has been an up-and-down season for his team.
Kraus, who played part of the 2006-07 season with the Blazers, also has had some personal luck this season. He crashed his pickup truck on the Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous on Oct. 3, but managed to walk away.
"I'm feeling good," said Kraus, 23. "I walked away with minor injuries and a bit of a shoulder injury from the seat-belt. Everything's good."
On Saturday, Rourke O'Briain, Ian Chrystal and Josh Rasmussen scored for the Storm and Beesley made 36 saves. Nick Josephs and Kirk Reeve replied for Kelowna, and Tyler O'Donnell and Kenny Fitzgerald combined to make 28 saves.
The Chase Heat defeated the visiting Penticton Lakers 3-2 on Saturday.
Reece Forman, Ethan Kalugin and Kurtis Johnson scored for Chase, and Devon Pearson made 21 saves. Joey DiCaire and Lucas Kwasny scored for Penticton, which got 29 saves from Joel Wilson.