Prince Rupert Rampage defender Jacob Santurbano (6) chases the puck and Quesnel Kangaroos forward Braiden Epp (21) behind the Rampage goal during a game at the West Fraser Centre on Sunday January 19. Prince Rupert would go on to win the game 4-3. (Sasha Sefter / Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Prince Rupert Rampage roll in Cariboo country

A pair of wins have the Rampage in position to control their own playoff destiny

The second matchup of the weekend for Quesnel saw the hometown Roos take on the second team in the standings, Prince Rupert Rampage, in a Sunday afternoon game.

This game was physical from the first whistle. Both teams showed up ready to hit the ice and each other, as no free puck went unchallenged and no check unfinished.

The Rampage scored the lone goal of the first period, as Austin Weir snuck one of the 19 shots on goal for the visiting team in the period past Roos netminder Brandon Peacock.

The Roos would not sit idly by as Peacock held down the fort. The hometown offence peppered Rampage goaltender Kieren Sharpe with an unbelievable 27 shots but was unable to solve the talented pad-stacker through the opening 20.

Quesnel Kangaroos forward Justin Fulton (17) has his shot deflected by Prince Rupert Rampage forwards Graeme Lodge (88) during a game at the West Fraser Centre on Sunday January 19. Prince Rupert would go on to win the game 4-3. (Sasha Sefter / Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

The Roos would come out of the locker room with a laser-like focus, winning the puck possession battle and stifling the red-hot Rampage.

The hometown squad was finally rewarded for its offensive efforts, scoring not once but twice, as Roos captain Alessio Tomassetti would capitalize on a powerplay to tie the game, and Braiden Epp’s tally would get the home team a 2-1 lead after two periods.

READ MORE: Prince Rupert brings home bronze medal from Quesnel

The Rampage would regain their composure in the third, as Tyler Ostrom found the back of the net early, tying the game up.

The Roos would continue to pressure, as Tomassetti scored his second of the game, but the home team’s lead was short-lived again, as Rampage captain Kory Movold scored the equalizer less than a minute later.

Prince Rupert Rampage goaltender Kieran Sharpe (33) makes an acrobatic save as Quesnel Kangaroos forward Braiden Epp (21) tries to score on a rebound. (Sasha Sefter / Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

The two teams would battle hard for the remainder of the third period, and the energy in the arena was electric. As regulation time ran down, an audible gasp could be heard from the hometown crowd as each of the Roos’ 18 shots headed towards the visiting goal.

However, it would be the Rampage who knocked the wind out of the hometown sails, as Ostrom scored his second of the game, sealing the 4-3 victory for Prince Rupert.

Some drama erupted in the final minute of play, as the Roos pulled their goalie and with the extra attacker on the ice rang the rubber off a post, sending it quickly back into play as the referee signalled “no goal.” Many in attendancewould swear they had seen the puck sail over the goal line and strike the centre post of the Rampage net, but, alas, this battle of two tremendous teams was not meant to see overtime.

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“We worked hard and put a lot of pucks on net. Sixty-two shots their goalie saved. We could have ran away with it, but sometimes you run into a hot goalie,” Kangaroos captain Alessio Tomassetti said after the game.

“Everyone thought we tied it up late, but the refs seemed to disagree.”

Prince Rupert won their game on Saturday against Williams Lake in thrilling fashion, finally scoring their first goal in the third period to tie the game 1-1 before notching the game winner with just 2.2 seconds to go. Combined with a Terrace loss in Quesnel the same evening, the Rampage are now first place in the CIHL. They will have a chance to clinch home ice advantage in the playoffs if they defeat Terrace at home in their next game on Friday, Jan. 31.

– with files from Alex Kurial


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