The Prince Rupert Rampage won their final game of the season on Feb. 3, beating out the Smithers Steelheads 5-3 in a fierce contest.
The Rampage were missing key players including top scorer Judd Repole, forward Brody Hemrich and defenceman Reid Lindsay, but were still able to secure the two points to close the curtains on their regular season.
Hat-trick hero Tyler Halliday was the star of the show against the Steelheads, doubling his tally for the season from three to six.
“We were missing a couple of key guys tonight, but I think we put it on the line with the group of guys we had and left out there, we battled pretty hard and got them back for last week. They beat us 6-1, so it felt pretty good to close up the season with the win,” he said.
Halliday got the Rampage off to a quick start with two unanswered goals in the first period, though a second period tally from Dawson Schwarz put the game back within reach.
A second power-play goal from Halliday to round off his hat-trick returned the Rampage’s two-goal advantage, only for the Steelheads to come back within one.
Captain Kory Movold scored his eighth of the year to finish off the second period, but the Steelheads came knocking again when Darcy Delaney scored to make it 4-3 with 10 minutes to go.
The defining moment of the game was a fantastic point-blank stop from Brayden Ferguson to keep the game at 4-3, with Hunter Johnson putting the tie to bed shortly after.
Tensions spilled over frequently in a testy matchup that resulted in 71 penalty minutes and multiple fighting misconducts. The inabilty to stay out of the penalty box hampered both teams, with four of the eight goals scored from power-plays.
The win was not enough to climb the league table, as the Rampage finished fourth in the west division, one point behind the Hazelton Wolverines and five behind the Terrace River Kings, the CIHL’s regular season champions.
It will be a repeat of last year’s first round when the Rampage face off against the Wolverines at home on Feb. 10. After last season’s playoff collapse to the Wolverines, the Rampage will be looking for revenge against the high-scoring Hazelton team.
The Rampage are ready for whatever comes at them in the playoffs according to Halliday, who pointed out that the team has beaten the Wolverines this season.
“We know we can do it, we’ve got a good group of guys. It’s just going to take a lot of hard work,” said Halliday.