The Rupert Rampage won 8-5 against the Kitimat Ice Demons in their last road game of the season on Jan. 22.
In the hotly contested match, the Ice Demons out-shot the Rampage 42 to 35 with attempts aimed at the goal.
“The game was pretty upbeat,” Ron German, Rampage general manager, said. “We went in there short [on players] and stuck to our game plan and played smart hockey.”
The Rampage was first on the scoreboard thanks to a goal from number 17, Hunter Johnson, and ended the first period with the advantage.
From there, the game heated up with goals flying into the back of the nets.
Just 21 seconds into the second period the Rampage went up another goal, but the momentum was shifted in their opponents’ favour.
Kitimat found their stride and responded with a goal of their own just 30 seconds after being down two points. They scored an equalizer five minutes later and then followed up with the puck buried in the back of the net from Ian Coleman to make it 3-2 for the Ice Demons.
As the second period came to a close, momentum swung back to the visiting Rampage.
The Rupert team struck back to level the game at three-a-piece, with three minutes left in the period. They took advantage of a late power-play to go up 4-3, less than 90 seconds later, entering the final period with the lead.
Hitting the ice hard right off the bat in the third, Kitimat scored yet another equalizer only 18 seconds into the period. However, penalties would plague them for the rest of the period, with four Demons visiting the penalty box.
“It’s unfortunate because they played very well,” Donald Pacheco, Ice Demons coach, said.
A well-disciplined Rampage was able to fully capitalize on their advantages, scoring three goals in the third with two of them on the power-plays.
While Kitimat was able to take advantage of their one power-play opportunity in the period and score, they remained outmanned for nearly half of the third.
Prince Rupert’s Hunter Johnson ended the game by scoring a hat trick in an empty-net goal with 56 seconds left on the clock.
“We could have been better in the defensive zone. That’s probably the downfall of the game was our D-zone coverage,” Pacheco said.
Rampage coach, Roger Atchison, praised Kitimat’s player’s performance. He said they have a great group of players and sees them as “a positive” for the long-term quality of the league.
The Rampage’s experienced players have been key for their strong performance on road games throughout the season, Atchison said.
“Believe it or not, they’ve turned into a veteran team. So, they know what they have to do with short benches — they just have to play smart, conserve and go hard when they got good chances,” he said.
Next, the Rampage will finish off the season with three home games, featuring a doubleheader on Jan. 29 and 30 and will face league leaders, Terrace River Kings, on Feb 5.
The remainder of the season home schedule:
Rupert Rampage vs. Williams Lake Stampeders, Jan. 29 at 7 p.m.
Rupert Rampage vs. Quesnel Kangaroos, Jan. 30 at 1 p.m.
Rupert Rampage vs. Terrace River Kings, Feb. 5 at p.m.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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