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Grizzlies rally past Leafs to capture Teck Cup Championship

KIJHL Commissoner Jeff Debois, far left, and Deputy Commissioner Larry Martel, far right, presents Grizzlies captain Cole Berg with the Teck Cup and assistant captains with the league banner following the Grizzlies winning the league championships Thursday night in Revelstoke. — Photo courtesy Steve Piccolo

The Revelstoke Grizzlies scored three unanswered third period goals to defeat the Nelson Leafs 6-4 and capture the 2022 Kootenay International Junior Hockey League Teck Cup Championship Thursday night at the Forum.

The defending Teck Cup Champions win the KIJHL best-of-seven final series 4-1.

Trailing 4-3 entering the third period, Tyden McWillis got the Grizzlies rally started with a goal less than two minutes into the frame.

Ronin Pusch, with his seventh goal of the playoffs 6:33 into the third on the power-play gave the Grizzlies the lead before Brandon Kasdorf added some insurance with another extra-strength marker six minutes later.

Revelstoke finished the game going 4-for-5 on the power play.

The teams were tied 1-1 after one period as Liam Noble for the Leafs and Grizzlies Kaleb West, with his first of two in the game, scored goals.

Nelson then outscored the Grizzlies 3-2 in the second period on goals by Simon Nemethy, with a pair, and Joe Davidson to take a one-goal lead into the third period.

But the Leafs could not hold the lead as the Revelstoke power play, scoring 11 times in 24 attempts in the series, went to work.

Jake Wallace had the other goal for Revelstoke.

Nelson outshot the Grizzlies 39-31 in the game.

Dylan Marshall went the distance in the Leaf nets while Jozef Kuchaslo replaced Grizzlies starter Brandon Ware in the third period Thursday.

Kuchaslo stopped all 14 shots in the third period to earn the win for Revelstoke.

Revelstoke finished the playoff run losing only three times in 19 games.

Nelson, winners of the Murdoch Division and Kootenay Conference titles while playing the most games in the playoffs — 24 — finished with a 13-11 mark.

The game marked the final time behind the bench for Leafs skipper Mario DiBella. The veteran bench boss, who coached the past few seasons with his son Adam, earlier this season announced his retirement from coaching in the KIJHL following the playoffs.

The last time Nelson advanced to the Teck Cup Championship came in 2010, where the Leafs also lost to the Revelstoke Grizzlies.

Revelstoke now travels to Delta April 7-10 to compete in the 2022 Cyclone Taylor Cup.

The KIJHL Champ joins host Delta Ice Hawks and winners of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League and Pacific Coast Hockey League in the four-team tournament to determine the BC Hockey Junior B Champ.