The Calgary Canucks won its first home game of the season the hard way, coming back from a 2-0 deficit at the halfway mark of the second period to win 5-2 against the Olds Grizzleys.
Both teams came into this game with losing streaks, and with something to prove. The Grizzlies made a statement in the opening period, firing 20 shots toward Calgary goalie Colin Cooper, while the Canucks only managed to get 10 shots on Ethan Jemieff.
The Grizzlys managed to get two of its shots into the net in the first period. The first goal came at the 13:33 mark of the 1st period, when Grizlleys defenceman Lucas Grundy buried his own rebound off of a bomb from the blue line. Just over 90 seconds later at 15:04 of the first period, Bart Moran stole the puck from the Canucks and scored a gorgeous breakaway goal to make it 2-0 Olds. The Grizzleys potentially could have added more goals if not for the superb goaltending Colin Cooper was providing for the Canucks.
The Grizzlies were 0 for 4 on the Powerplay in the first period. The Canucks were 0 for 2.
The second period started with the Canucks on a 5-3 powerplay. Even the two man advantage couldn't stop the Grizzleys from controlling the pace of the game.
The Grizzleys forced the Canucks into more penalties including one at the 8:00 minute mark of the second period. The call was Curtis Lewington for Boarding. That penalty kill would change the tenor of the game.
With 5 seconds remaining on the penalty kill Kirby Ruzesky stole the puck and charged toward Olds net with a lot of speed. He went to his backhand and buried the puck top shelf. His shortanded goal at 9:55 of the second period cut the lead in half.
That goal energized the team. The Canucks generated a flurry of chances at the Olds net and ninety-five seconds after Ruzesky scored, former Grizzly Jordan Kanscal recieved a pass from Derek Thorogood in the slot and he slammed the puck home into the net. The game was now a 2-2 tie.
The overall pace of the game picked up for the final half of the second period as both teams pushed for the goal to take a 3-2 lead. Both goaltenders would come up big to preserve the 2-2 tie going into the third and final period.
The Grizzlys were 0 for 7 on the Powerplay after two periods, the Canucks were 0 for 5
The Canucks were the team that started fast in the third period, drawing another powerplay, yet again the team couldn't buy a goal. However, at the five minute mark of the third period Tony Keeler of the Grizzlies recieved a 5 minute major for cross-checking.
The Canucks were able to break through and score two goals on the five minute powerplay.Gui Glasspoole scored at 6:03 of the third with a shot in the slot finding its way past Jemieff, and 2:33 later at 8:36, Kirby Ruzesky scored his second goal of the game with a hard snapshot on a rush towards the net.
The Grizzlies were able to generate some quality chances once the major penalty expired but once again Colin Cooper shut the door. Jordan Kanscal scored his second goal of the game with 3:30 remaining to seal the victory for the Canucks.
Colin Cooper stopped 41 out of 43 shots for the win while Ethan Jemieff stopped 24 out of 29 in defeat.
Jordan Kanscal scored two goals for the Canucks and was named the player of the game for the home side. Grizzlys captain Bart Moran was named the road player of the game after registering a goal and an assist in the contest.
Kirby Ruzesky also scored two goals for the Canucks.
With the win the Canucks improved to 2-3-1 on the year and moved into 2nd place in the South Division while the Olds Grizzlys dropped to 1-4 on the year and remained in last place in the South.
The Canucks play back to back home games against the Canmore Eagles and the Drumheller Dragons this weekend. The Eagles visit Max Bell at 7:00 PM on Saturday, and the Dragons are in Calgary 2:00 PM Sunday afternoon.