The Prince Rupert Rampage staged a four-goal rally in the third period to drop the visiting Kitimat Ice Demons 6-4 in CIHL action Saturday at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
True to form, whenever the Rampage and the Ice Demons meet, it is evident the two clubs simply don’t like each other. Saturday’s tilt was no different in a game that turned downright violent at times with the two clubs combining for 27 penalties, two major fights and number of bone-crushing hits.
“All these games are going to be hard fought battles,” Jared Meers, who scored two goals in the contest, said. “They want to win, we want to win. The playoffs are getting closer.”
Kitimat opened the scoring at 9:44 in the first period when Terry Whalen put a loose puck past Rampage goaltender David Wood. Kitimat’s lead was extended to two when Taylor Mallet beat Wood with a solo shot in the top left corner.
Later in the first, the animosity boiled over and the gloves came off. After a number of game misconduct penalties were issued, the ensuing four-on-four worked to the Rampage’s advantage.
Prince Rupert’s Cody Cringan capitalized on the open ice to bring the Rampage back to within one late in the first.
In the second, Kitimat appeared to take control of the game behind goals from Derek Wakita and Mallet to extend the Ice Demon’s lead to 4-1.
Shortly before the 40-minute mark, the Rampage cued the comeback on a goal from Mark Arnold.
Down 4-2 heading into the third, back-to-back Ice Demon slashing and roughing calls handed the Rampage a two-man advantage.
“Going into the third, I was just telling our guys that we had an opportunity on the powerplay,” Rampage coach Roger Atchison said after the game.
In the first five minutes of the third, the Rampage were able to capitalize on their two-man advantage with Meers scoring twice. The first goal was assisted by Kory Movold and Tyler Ostrom, and the tying goal came off a steal by Mark Arnold at the Demons’ blue line. Arnold then fed the puck to Meers to knot the game at 4-4.
At 12:05 in the third period, Arnold set up Kelm behind the net. Kelm held onto the puck and tucked home a backhander past Kitimat’s goaltender for the go-ahead goal. Cody Cringan scored an empty-netter with less than a minute remaining to seal the victory.
“It was a good feeling tying that game up, and winning it after all that,” Meers said.
The Rampage now have a record of 5-2-1-3 heading into their game at home against Terrace on Saturday, Dec. 16. Meers said the win has given the team confidence as they prepare to face their main rivals in the league.
“We came into this game looking for the W and the boys are buzzing,” he said. “So going into next week we’re going to take this momentum and hopefully get one back against Terrace.”