The Prince Rupert Rampage met the white hot Terrace River Kings on Friday night as they looked to build momentum leading into the CIHL playoffs.
The Rampage wasted no time in bringing the crowd to their feet as Kory Movold carried the puck in close and buried a backhander five-hole jut 2:25 into the game. 61 seconds later, Thomas Robinson picked up a loose puck in front and poked it past Terrace netminder Garrett Muir to make it 2-1 for Prince Rupert. Terrace responded with 12:35 to play as Derek Jurista put a backhander under the glove of Warren Hansen to pull the River Kings to within one. After the goal, the Rampage controlled play in the offensive zone but were unable to capitalize. Things got exciting with six minutes to play as Greg Sheppard was stopped on a breakaway and Josh Murray was pulled down going in alone the other way and was awarded a penalty shot, which he shot wide. In the dying minutes it was the goalies’ time to shine as Muir made some great saves from his back with 90 seconds on the clock and Hansen made a two-on-one save with 10 seconds left to keep things at 2-1. Some rough stuff after the whistle and a bench minor would give Terrace 5-on-3 advantage to start the second, but the Rampage took a one goal lead into the dressing room.
The Terrace 5-on-3 resulted in a breakaway goal — for the short-handed Rampage. After sweeping away the puck, Devin Palmer went in alone and, after cutting across the net, put the puck over the pad of Muir just 1:19 into the period to extend the lead to two. After more back and forth action, Terrace cut into the lead when a weak Rich Clair shot hit the top of Hansen’s pad before bouncing through the five-hole with 8:56 to play. Movold scored his second of the game with 5:42 on the clock, sniping a wrister top shelf over the glove of Muir. Before the period ended, and on the powerplay following a Kendal Stace-Smith roughing call, Jurista narrowed the gap with a shot from a bad angle that snuck between Hansen and the post with 3:38 to go. Like the first the second ended with the Rampage holding onto a one goal lead, 4-3, ensuring an exciting final frame.
The River Kings came out fired up in the third and tied things up just 55 seconds into the period when Corey Dekelver tipped one past Hansen right in front. Terrace dominated the early part of the period as the Rampage were unable to get anything going offensively, including a two minute man advantage that didn’t see a single shot make it to the Terrace net, and that strong play allowed the River Kings to take the lead for the first time when Josh Murray squeaked one under a downed Hansen with 12:52 to play. The remainder of the period was similar to the start, with Terrace keeping Rupert at bay and play largely in the Rampage end. As the clock wound down it looked like the River Kings would take the regulation win, but Rampage captain Jared Meers snapped a wrister past Muir with 1:16 to play to tie things up. When the final buzzer sounded, the two team were tied at five, forcing overtime.
The extra five minutes of four-on-four didn’t resolve anything and the two goaltenders prepared for what would prove to be a lengthy shootout. Both Jurista and Meers were stopped in the first round, while Hansen shut down Jurista and Movold put one under the blocker of Muir in the second. In the third round, Terrace captain Steve Cullis went low glove side on Hansen to keep the River Kings alive and Muir shut the door on Kendal Stace-Smith, meaning an extra set of shootouts was needed. In the fourth round, William Fisher went low stick side on Hansen and Jordan Weir put one through the pads of Muir. In the fifth round, Jeremy Van Den Broek went low stick side on Hansen while Muir shut down Josh Kierce of the Rampage to give Terrace the 6-5 win.
The next day, the Rampage traveled to Terrace for a rematch. The game started once more with a Rampage goal as Kierce put one past Muir with 7:46 to play, but Cullis put one past Devin Gerrits with 9:51 to play to tie things up at one going into the second.
The River Kings quickly took the lead in the second as Jurista found the back of the net just 51 seconds into the period. Just over eight minutes in, Cullis netted his second of the game to extend the River Kings’ lead, and the Rampage went into the final frame trailing 3-1.
Terrace’s Lee Muir put the game almost out of reach with 13:33 to go with the team’s fourth goal, but the Rampage went out on a high note as Craig Munro beat Muir with 3:05 left to narrow the gap. When the buzzer sounded, the River Kings completed the sweep with a 4-2 victory.
Next up for the Rampage is a double-header against the Smithers Steelheads this weekend that will be the last home games of the season for the team. The Rampage sit tied with Houston for last in the west, although the Luckies have played three fewer games than Prince Rupert. The Rampage are seven points ahead of Lac La Hache, who sit last in the league.