If the Prince Rupert Rampage want to make any noise in the playoffs, they will have to rediscover their early season mojo.
That is the undeniable truth after the Rampage finished the final four-game stretch of the season 1-3, including three straight losses in close games to their main rivals.
“It doesn’t matter who we place, whether it’s Terrace, Williams Lake or Quesnel, it’s always going to come down to making plays in the last few minutes because all the games have been pretty close,” said Roger Atchison, the team’s head coach.
The Rampage were outlasted by the Quesnel Kangaroos 6-5 at the Civic Centre Arena on Jan. 27. Coming off a loss the previous night against the Williams Lake Stampeders, Prince Rupert was hoping to right the ship and gain positive momentum going into the playoffs.
The Rampage got off to a quick start, scoring the game’s opening goal and maintaining a 2-1 advantage at the end of the first period.
However, an inability to convert on several power-play opportunities combined with some opportunitistic rushes from the Kangaroos helped bring the CIHL’s top team back into the game. Bryan Albee scored a pair of goals to give the Kangaroos a 3-2 lead early in the second before Kory Movold scored off a feed from behind the net from Cole Morris to tie the game 3-3 going into the third period.
A tripping penalty at the beginning of the third period by the Rampage gave Quesnel a man advantage which they converted into a 4-3 lead.
Prince Rupert responded with two goals to seemingly take command of the game. The first was scored by Mike Coolin while the second was scored by Koltin Chasse.
Another Prince Rupert penalty gave Quesnel one more power play opportunity which they used to tie the game once more. Finally, a shorthanded goal sealed the win for the Kangaroos.
Atchison credited the Kangaroos for competing hard and earning the win even though he felt his team played the better game overall.
“They were ready, they had the league on the line and the played hard, and we were just a hair short,” he said.
The loss Rampage will have a week off before the start of the playoffs.
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Matthew Allen | Reporter
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