The Prince Rupert Rampage came out of the break strong with a decisive 7-2 win over the visiting Kitimat Ice Demons Saturday night.
The win came on a special night for the Prince Rupert community, it was Teddy Bear Toss night.
In partnership with the Salvation Army, teddy bears were handed out by donation before the game, fans were also invited to bring their own stuffed animals.
The bears the Salvation Army brought were all donated by the local BC liquor store, and once the count is done they will be donated to children in need.
The first period was all Prince Rupert, scoring three goals in the opening frame, and carrying the play. Goals from Jean-Luc Fournier, Tyler Ostrom and Corey Movold gave the Rampage the early edge. The second period was a different story.
The team needed to score a single goal in the second period for the teddy bear toss to commence and for the majority of the period, it looked as if the bear toss may not happen.
“The second period was one we’d like to forget, took a few penalties just a bad period of hockey,” coach Roger Atchison said of his team’s sloppy play in the second frame.
Kitimat carried the play throughout the period, cutting the deficit to 3-1 with just six minutes left in the frame on a sweet goal by Dane Schrier.
Just when the crowd had resigned to throwing the bear over with or without a goal it happened.
With just 18 seconds left in the frame, Movold made a slick move out of the corner, walked to the front of the net and out waiting the goalie before burying the puck top shelf for his second of the game.
The crowd erupted and bears flew, littering the ice before being collected by the Rampage players and carried off the ice.
First estimates put the number of bears donated at around 200, but the exact number won’t be known for some time.
The third period started and the game was all but done, the Rampage would never look back, scoring three insurance marker in the frame, including a hat-trick goal for Movold.
The Ice Demons only dressed 11 players and a goalie, which immediately put them at a disadvantage, but Atchison said the team wasn’t playing them any differently,
“We needed this win, and we are gonna need to play hard these next couple games, to get back to where we were. you can’t take any team lightly, our goalie had to come up with some big saves, you just never know with this league,” Atchison said.
The win catapulted the Rampage back into second place in the league sitting only behind Williams Lake, but for Atchison and the Rampage, second is nice but their sights are set on first.
“It would be huge, in the past couple of years, we were never really in contention, last year was one of the first times we were able to tie for the league lead. Hopefully, we can make a run at it,” Atchison said.