Perhaps it was the holiday spirit, but after participating in the Winterfest Parade and posing for photos with fans earlier in the day the Prince Rupert Rampage put on their strongest showing yet on Saturday night as they downed the powerhouse Kitimat Ice Demons 6-1.
The Rampage opened the scoring in the game early, as captain Jared Meers put one by Kitimat’s Tyson Craven just 98 seconds into the game Terry Whelan of the Demons responded less than two minutes later to tie things up at one, but the rest of the period and indeed the game would belong to Prince Rupert. With 10:15 to play Justin Fontaine regained the lead for Prince Rupert and a shorthanded goal by Josh Kierce with just 1:05 left on the clock put the Rampage up 3-1 leading into the second period.
In the second Rampage goalie Keano Wilson held his ground through an early Kitimat onslaught and just over halfway though the period Kory Movold found the back of the net on the powerplay to make it 4-1 for Prince Rupert. That would be the only goal in the second, giving the fans at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre plenty to cheer about heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
In the third the Rampage continued to keep up the pressure on the western-division leading Demons. With 11:-5 to play Meers scored his second of the night with a wrist shot from in front just before he was hauled down by the Demon defensemen. That fifth goal would spell the end of the night for Kitimat’s Craven, who was replaced between the pipes by Daniel Pellan. But not even Pellan could shut the door on Prince Rupert, as Kierce went low glove-side on the powerplay with 4:15 to go. When the final buzzer sounded the Rampage celebrated their first home win of the season in front of a raucous crowd and saluted their fans as they left the ice.
The win puts the Rampage tied with the Houston Luckies at five points for the final playoff spot in the league, though there is still a lot of hockey to play. The Smithers Steelheads remain undefeated so far this season and at at 11-0 to lead the league with 22 points, followed by the Ice Demons at 20 points and the Williams Lake Stampeders at 17 points.
The Rampage will take to the ice again this Saturday against division rivals the Terrace River Kings, who were off last weekend but enjoy a four-point lead over Prince Rupert in the standings.
Look for complete coverage of that game in next week’s issue of the Prince Rupert Northern View.