The Rupert Rampage lost a crucial home game on Saturday night, 5-2 to the Terrace River Kings in the first game of the second-round playoff series.
In classic Rampage/River Kings rivalry fashion, it was an intense, physical game riddled with penalties, coming to peak in a second-period scrum. When all was said and done, the Rampage ended the game with 71 penalty minutes while Terrace took 67.
“All I can say is there was just a scrum between two rivals in a playoff series. Both our emotions are up so high and we’re both wanting the win just as bad. That was bound to happen,” Jordan Aubee said, who was handed a game misconduct for fighting during the melee.
As Aubee tells it, it started because the Rampage had a delayed penalty so goalie Devin Gerritts was on his way to the bench for the extra attacker. But Terrace touched the puck before he could get there and one of the River Kings bumped him.
“You know what happens after that,” Aubee said.
Rupert was given eight penalties out of the scrum, including game misconducts to Aubee and captain Jared Meers, who left the bench to join the fight. The River Kings also received two game misconducts.
Despite the fight, it’s the physical aspect of the game Aubee felt the Rampage were missing in the loss.
“We need to stay close to some of their key players and not give them room to skate. Setting a physical tone plays a big part in the game. We have big bodies, we should be throwing hits all the time,” he said.
Aside from that, Aubee thought the rhinos played well as a unit. He also mentioned Gerritts’ good play, which he said gives the team confidence. Gerritts made 24 saves in the game.
Prince Rupert led the game 1-0 after one period on a goal by newcomer Cole Morris, assisted by Santurbano.
But the River Kings pulled ahead in the second with goals from Brett Downie, Luke Walker and Ben Reinbolt, one of which was on the powerplay.
In the third period, Terrace made it 4-1 on a second goal by Downie, taking firm control of the game. The Rampage made it a two-score game when Tyler Ostrom put the puck past Jared Rathjen, who stopped 22 shots.
Tristan Murray scored an empty-net goal with five seconds left to finish it off.
The series now shifts to Terrace, with games on Friday night and Saturday. It is a tall task for Rupert to win two in a row on the road against a tough team, but Aubee believes it can be done.