It’s been a long journey to get to the KIJHL Teck Cup Championships, but it’s here. The Revelstoke Grizzlies punched their ticket for a shot at defending their title by sweeping the top team in the league – the Osoyoos Coyotes. The Nelson Leafs are fresh off of defeating the Kimberley Dynamiters in six games to compete for their first Teck Cup Championship in 12 years. The last time they competed for the championship was in 2009-10, against the Grizzlies, who won. This week’s KIJHL Notebook focuses on the final two teams.
Revelstoke Grizzlies – Brandon Kasdorf said sticking to their game plan to defeat the Osoyoos Coyotes “was really important for us.”
He liked how the team played physically and as a group, adding that their conditioning and how their coaches prepared them was a factor in winning the series.
“It was a hard hitting series. It was fast paced,” said Kasdorf, who has four goals and eight points in 11 playoff games. “We just had to keep the same mindset and go into every game with the same plan.”
When it comes to facing Nelson, Kasdorf said they are excited to travel there and play in the Nelson Community Complex because they are not used to playing there. Kasdorf, Cole Berg and Brandon Weare are the lone 20-year-olds on the roster.
“It will be a good test for us,” he said.
In assessing his own play, Kasdorf said it has been good.
“I have two really good linemates (Ronin Pusch and Luke Aston) and they have been helping me along the way. I have just been doing everything I can do to help the team win,” he said.
Of Kasdorf’s four goals, one is a game-winner.
Nelson Leafs – “It’s the biggest goal I’ve scored in my career,” said Liam Noble, of the double OT winner he one-timed by Kimberley Dynamiters goalie Trystan Self, to clinch the Kootenay Conference series for the Leafs in six games and advance to the league championship. “All I could think about was the puck was coming towards me, just make contact with it. Try to hit the net and it just happened to hit the back of the net, which was nice. After that it just kind of got blurry.”
Noble also remembers Self sliding over and taking the bottom half of the net and his shot got over the pads.
“It was probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in terms of hockey and scoring goals,” said Noble, who has six goals and 14 points in 19 playoff games. “It was unbelievable.”
Noble said the first two games of the series that the Dynamiters were the better team. Once the series shifted over to Nelson, there was a different energy.
“We really were hard on their defencemen, hitting and being physical,” said Noble. “We capitalized on their mistakes.”
The Leafs noticed that the Dynamiters were moving the puck well and their defenceman had the ability to “really stretch the ice and some of their forwards had a lot of speed.”
“We just decided to sit one guy back at the blue line, instead of forechecking. It just happened to work out for us,” he said.
Against the Grizzlies, Noble said they are looking forward to seeing what they can do to win.
“We are just going to go in and work our hardest. Be as physical as we can,” he said. “Play our game. We can play any style of game we want. Win games however we want.”