It was a tough opening night for the Prince Rupert Rampage, who lost a hard fought game in their season opener on Sept. 30.
Playing in front of a crowd of 561 people at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre ice arena, the Rampage lost a close 4 – 3 contest to the Kitimat Ice Demons. It was a close contest that featured multiple swings in momentum, and showed the grit of both teams with the Ice Demons edging out the final result.
“I think it could have gone either way, but I thought we had some good chances and that’s the way it went today,” said Rampage head coach Roger Atchison.
Both teams showed signs of rust in the first period and struggled to build momentum. However, some early penalties against the Ice Demons, disciplined defense and aggression on the fore-check allowed the Rampage to take control of the game. The Rampage opened the scoring with two first period goals, the first by Cody Cringen off the assist by Jared Meers, and the second by Kory Movold who got the rebound off a shot by Cringen.
Despite establishing an early lead, the Rampage were not able to sustain the same intensity in the second period, and the Ice Demons clawed their way back into the game with two goals scored by Jeremy Brady midway through the period.
“The second period we just got a little off our game,” said Atchison. “And give credit to them. They came back and never gave up and got a couple of goals and got back in it, and then we were in a hockey game for the last 20 minutes.”
The final period was a microcosm of the entire game, with one team scoring an early goal, and the other team having to battle back. The Ice Demons struck first at 15:50 in the third off a goal by Zack Carrita, putting the Rampage on their back foot. Prince Rupert was able to tie the game with eight minutes left in the period when Kory Mould scored off an assist from Meers, setting up the overtime.
A minute into the extra period, the Ice Demons scored the winning goal when Brady appeared to knock the puck out of goal tender Brett Roth’s glove into the net. Roth protested the goal as the Ice Demons celebrated, but after a quick huddle, the referees signalled a good goal. Atchison said he accepted their decision.
“Originally, I wasn’t one-hundred percent sure and then I though it wasn’t bad,” he said. “I talked to a few guys that watched upstairs in the booth and they said it was a good hockey goal so it is what it is.”
The Rampage’s next two games are on the road against the Williams Lake Stampeders on Oct. 14 and against the Quesnel Kangaroos on Oct. 15