Not only did Prince Rupert hockey enthusiasts support the Everybody Can Play initiative with their admission donation Saturday night, but they got one of the most spirited and tightly-fought hockey games the city has seen so far in the young new year.
An intense battle between the Prince Rupert RCMP and the Prince Rupert Fire Department Blazers in the seventh-annual Guns & Hoses charity game resulted in a dramatic 6-5 shootout win in a contest that came down to the last few minutes to decide the champion.
And it was the Blazers fighting back from a three-goal deficit who ended up as the victors thanks to two goals in the shootout by Dillon Lawrence and Ryan Fuzi. Rob Christenson responded with a tally of his own in the skills competition.
After a close first period that saw the only goal scored by the Blazers’ Lawrence, the RCMP roared back to spot a 4-1 lead with four straight goals in a 10-minute span. Jay Collins got things going when he tied the game 1-1 with a blast from the point.
Then, Manny Bourque took a shot from outside the left circle and took the lead 2-1. Darren Chow found the back of the net following Bourque’s tally, and Bourque added another for the 4-1 lead.
The Blazers roared to life after that when Marvin Kristoff flipped a shot over RCMP netminder Devon Gerrits and Real Jones and Lawrence each notched a goal to tie things up at four.
Late in the third, the Blazers took the lead after Gordie Armstrong fired one past Gerrits, but the Guns’ Josh Brownlee responded by converting on a cross-crease pass past Blazers’ goalie Dylan Sidoni.
Both Fuzi and Bourque had two assists while Lawrence, Jones, Tim Dopko and Guillaume Belanger recorded helpers as well.
The Blazers avenged last year’s 3-2 loss to the Guns with the win.
Organizers were still tallying the total amount raised as of Sunday afternoon for the Everybody Can Play cause.