It may have let the shutout slip away in the final two minutes of the game, but the Kamloops Storm had the victory locked up long before that.
The Storm defeated the Revelstoke Grizzlies 5-1 in a KIJHL game Saturday at McArthur Island Sport and Event Centre, thanks to goals from four different players.
Head coach Ed Patterson described it as a bounce-back victory for his club, following Friday's 6-4 loss to the visiting Creston Valley Thunder Cats.
"We had a decent game yesterday - we outshot Creston 41-21 - and ended up on the unlucky-side of it," he said. "Sometimes when that happens the boys try new things, but they came out of the gate right away today with the same pucks in deep and pucks on net and good team speed and they didn't change anything. It was good to see that they stuck with the program and got rewarded for it."
Kamloops opened the scoring Saturday on a Felix Larouche goal in the first minute. Larouche pulled the puck off the boards and skated it to the top of the circle, passing it off to Max James at the right point. James's shot was stopped with a pad save by Revelstoke's Aaron Brandoli but Larouche was on hand to slide the rebound around the Grizzlies goaltender and into the net.
The Storm's Bobby Kashuba extended Kamloops' lead with his sixth goal of the season (tied with co-captain Brock Balson for the team lead), which came on the power play with just over six minutes remaining in the first. Kashuba picked up a rebound at the top of the crease and chipped it over Brandoli's pad to put the Storm ahead 2-0. Josh Rasmussen added a third marker before the period came to a close, with a backhander under the arm of Brandoli.
Larouche scored his second, five-hole, in the third and a short while later James chased down his own rebound to put the Storm ahead 5-0.
The only bump in the victory came with about two minutes remaining when Revelstoke's Chad Thomas broke Kamloops' shutout, putting one past Ben Giesbrecht.
"I think I played well, those personal stats don't matter as much as wins," Giesbrecht said following the game.
"I'm happy our team got the win instead of the shutout. It would have been nice, but I'd rather take the win."
Giesbrecht's 19-save performance improved his record to 5-1-0-0, with a .905 save percentage and a 2.24 goal-against average. A rookie to the KIJHL, he has carried the bulk of the load (seven of Kamloops's nine games) over fellow rookies Kyle Michalovsky and Nolan Munden.
"He had a couple big saves, but overall didn't play his A-game on Friday night, and it was a great bounce-back game (Saturday)," Patterson said. He added that the goalies "have been great. They battle their butts off in practice, they work hard, they're good in the dressing-room.
"Goalies are going to win you games and they're going to struggle the odd night and these guys have done their jobs, they've been great."
The Storm's next game is Friday against the host Golden Rockets.
The Chase Heat defeated the Thunder Cats 7-5 on Sunday.
Kaleb Boyle, Ryan Beach, Stuart Beckett and Connor Venne scored for the Heat, with Zac Hoskins recording a hat trick. Michael Byer went the distance in goal for the Heat, giving up five goals on 33 shots.
NOTES: The Storm went 3-for-10 on the power play and killed off 10 power plays, including two 5-on-3s and Spencer Schoech's major for checking from behind. . . . The Daily News' three stars: 1. James: Physical game, seemed like he was everywhere, goal and two assists; 2. Larouche: Two goals and an assist, strong on the PK; 3. Giesbrecht: 19 saves in the near-shutout. . . . F Luke Gordon served the second of his three-game suspension on Saturday, he will be eligible to play Oct. 12 against the host Columbia Valley Rockies.