Prince Rupert Rampage win one, lose one in weekend action
The Prince Rupert Rampage played host to two teams from the Bulkley Valley this weekend, as the Smithers Steelheads and the Houston Luckies came to the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
On Saturday night the team hosted the league-leading Steelheads, who were coming off their first loss of the past two seasons against the Williams Lake Stampeders, and the powerful Smithers offence struck early when Adam Devries beat Keano Wilson less than two minutes into the first. But after some back and forth play the Rampage tied things up on a wrist-shot by Ryan Stace-Smith just over halfway through the first, and Brian Tates would give Prince Rupert the lead with 3:42 to play. Against the odds Prince Rupert took a 2-1 lead into the second frame.
The two teams would prove an equal match for much of the second, until a late powerplay saw Lane Perry beat Wilson with just 12 seconds left to tie things up and set the stage for an exciting finish in front of the packed crowd.
In the third Wilson came up with some big saves to shut the door on the Steelheads early. Just over halfway through the period Prince Rupert found themselves on the powerplay and, with the crowd cheering on the home team, Kory Movold capitalized to put the Rampage up late in the game. While Smithers kept up the pressure, the Rampage kept shutting the door to take a 3-2 win and hand the Steelheads their second straight loss.
On Sunday the Luckies were in town following a 6-2 loss to the Kitimat Ice Demons the previous night.
Much like Saturday night's game, it was the visitors who struck first and early as Houston's Jaden Janzen put the puck home just 29 seconds in from a scramble in front. Prince Rupert responded though, as captain Jared Meers tipped in a Kory Movold slapshot right in front to tie things at one. With 5:58 to play there was a scrum after the whistle that saw Greg Shephard and Cole Hasell drop the gloves, and the result was a four minute Houston powerplay that the Rampage were able to kill off. While there were plenty of great opportunities late in the period, Keano Wilson and Colton Wardrop stood their ground and the teams went into the second tied at one.
In the second Houston again struck early, when a weak shot from just inside the line by Kurt Strimbold went five-hole with 17:21 to go. Prince Rupert was able to tie things up against just 69 seconds later though when Movold finished off a great powerplay passing play at the side of the net. Eight minutes later it appeared as though the Rampage took the lead, but the goal was called back due to a player being in the crease, and that would prove to be a costly call as Houston's Skylar Hasell put one past Wilson right off the faceoff with 1:40 to go to give the Luckies the 3-2 lead heading into the third.
The Rampage actually started the final frame with a two-minute powerplay, but it was Houston's Derek Dinelle fired a slapshot over the glove of Wilson just 12 seconds in to put the Luckies up by two. Movold lessened the gap with 17:23 to play with a slapshot from right in front. But a goal by Janzen with 4:09 to go put Rupert down 5-3, and with 2:28 to play coach Frank Pyde pulled the goaltender only for Janzen to complete the hat trick with an empty netter to give
the Luckies the 6-3 victory.
The Rampage will play their last home game of the season this Saturda against the Omenica Ice.