The Terrace River Kings remain undefeated after their first encounter of the season with the Rupert Rampage winning 2-1, in overtime, on Dec. 11.
“Our guys were really gutsy,” Chris Atchison, Rampage assistant coach, said. “It was an excellent game. Terrace made it here, they were a bit short-handed, but they’re a tough team at the best of times.”
The visitors had 12 players on their bench to the host’s 17 in the Rampage home game.
The home team had a perfect start and pulled out in front less than five minutes into the first period, with a goal from Colton Waklnaus. They held the thin lead for nearly 40 minutes before the visitors drew level early in the third.
For the entire second period, neither of the two teams could get the puck in the back of their opponent’s net and the tension on the ice became audible. The crowded arena fell silent at times with only the sounds of snapping sticks and sliding skates filling the void.
Rampage goaltender, Kieran Sharpe, kept a probing River Kings offence at bay while a focused Rampage defence denied second chances to shots on the net.
“There was not much between the two teams … it was a hard-fought well-played game,” Atchison said.
Tensions also flared between the two teams physically with players on both sides drawing 14 penalties each in the first and second periods. The third saw none.
Forcing the first overtime of the season for both teams, a tired River Kings were looking toward a penalty shootout, but that never came. A goal in the second period of overtime, from Colton Braid, robbed the Rampage of a home win.
“They’re undefeated and this is like a first-place game. [We] always have a good game against Rupert,” Rory Reinbolt, River Kings coach, said.
“I’m really proud of them and they played with pride — they didn’t want to lose,” he, said.
Reinbolt praised both teams and said either team could have won that day.
The Rampage assistant coach said nothing they could have changed would have made a difference.
“Everyone did what they were supposed to do today,” Atchison said. “It was back and forth. We had some chances, they had some chances and unfortunately, they got the last chance in the game.”
The Rampage will have a break until the new year, where the team is a strong possibility to secure a second-place finish, behind the River Kings.
“We’ll see Terrace again in the new year,” Atchison said.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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