A Rupert Rampage player was sent to the hospital during a 2-1 loss to the Central Interior Hockey League season winners, Terrace River Kings, on Feb. 5.
Brody Hemrich was hit in the face by the puck during the second period. The strike knocked out his mouthguard and left him bleeding. He was taken off the ice promptly.
“Tell the boys I’m sorry for dipping out. I’ll get down there as soon as I can,” Hemrich text from the emergency room to the Rampage coach, Roger Atchison.
The blow left Hemrich with 30 stitches in his mouth.
The final game of the regular season started by conceding two first-period goals, including one short-handed goal, to the River Kings. Though the Kings wouldn’t be able to find the back of the net again for the remaining 51 minutes of the game, the pair of goals proved to be just enough to win.
“Against a veteran team like Terrace, when we spot them two goals in the first it’s an uphill battle,” Atchison said.
The Rampage was able to cut the lead in half with a power-play goal from Cole Morris in the second but was unable to capitalize on their other one-man advantages throughout the game.
“Our penalty-kill made the difference. Rupert has a good power-play and we were able to keep them off the board on the power-play,” Rob Bell, River Kings coach, said.
During last half of the game, Rampage played with more energy and was able to pressure the goal of the River Kings.
“The last 30 minutes we were a better team than we [have been] for the last few weeks,” Atchison said.
However, the River Kings were able to hold off the Rampage’s advances and survive a final four-minute power play in the last half of the third period.
With the win over the Rampage secured, the River Kings continued their season undefeated. Their sole blip in the season was a 1-1 draw versus the Rampage.
“It feels great. I just hope we didn’t peak too early and hopefully got something left to for the playoffs,” Bell said.
Win or lose, the Rampage was guaranteed a spot in the play-offs. The team will be matched up in a best-of-three series against the Kitimat Ice Demons beginning the series away on Feb. 18.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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