Saturday night’s game at the Civic Centre saw the Rampage exact a measure of revenge for their only loss of the season, as they doubled up the visiting Kitimat Ice Demons 6-3.
An Oct. 18 trip to Kitimat, Prince Rupert’s first road game of the season, saw Kitimat score the upset 4-2 win. It was Kitimat’s first victory in 27 games, a winless stretch that lasted almost two years. The Rampage were set on ensuring they did not allow a similar scenario to unfold at home though.
“That was one of the big reasons we wanted to come out to a hot start,” Rampage forward Koltin Chasse said.
It looked as though the hot start may go the other way when a Tyler Matalone penalty gave Kitimat the man advantage. But with time winding down on the power play Jared Meers stepped up to block a point shot with the puck bouncing up ice to send him on a breakaway. Meers made no mistake, snapping the puck blocker side past goalie Ron Rich to open the scoring. The Rampage doubled their lead four minutes later when Graeme Lodge put the perfect touch on his saucer pass to Jordan Weir, who calmly converted the one timer coming down the right side.
|Kieran Sharpe takes a stretch during warmups before the puck drops against the Kitimat Ice Demons. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Logan Morris and Kale Burns converge with Kitimat’s Zachary Carrita in the corner. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Kieran Sharpe awaits the return of his misplaced goal. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
Kitimat snagged a goal back with just 23 seconds left in the opening frame after Josh Slanina snapped a shot top shelf, but the Rampage quickly reclaimed their two goal lead right out of the break. Forty seconds into the second period Chasse took a long precision pass at the blue line from Jacob Santurbano, bursting into the zone before converting against Rich.
“Jake gave me a good pass to the middle there. The defenceman kind of left me open so it was a little bit of a breakaway. And I was able to tuck it inside there,” Chasse said of the goal.
|Kory Finn, Gabe Fowler and Josh Slanina of the Kitimat Ice Demons talk strategy during a stoppage in play. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Jacob Santurbano, Tyler Ostrom and Kieran Sharpe share a laugh following a save by Sharpe. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Kieran Sharpe stopped 19 of 22 shots against Kitimat to improve his record to 2-1 on the season. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
As the game passed the halfway mark the Rampage were back on the board. A point shot by Santurbano was tipped on goal in the slot, and with Rich unable to control the deflection Logan Morris jumped in to poke the loose puck home to give Prince Rupert a three goal cushion.
Again the Ice Demons responded with a quick goal to make it 4-2, but another quick jump out of the intermission would seal things for the home side. With Kitimat’s Joel Findlay sitting in the box for cross checking, Weir scored his second of the game 84 seconds into the third after deflecting home a shot from Tyler Ostrom. Slanina would add one more goal for the Ice Demons, while Jean-Luc Rendell-Fournier sent the puck from his own zone into the empty net in the final minute to see a 6-3 final.
|Logan Morris takes a breather after a whistle. Morris scored his first goal of the season by jamming home a loose puck 11:25 into the second period, a goal which would turn out to be the game winner. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Kieran Sharpe wasn’t going to let Kitimat beat him this time around, making several timely saves against the Ice Demons. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
|Kory Finn and Kale Burns get ready to do battle in the faceoff circle. The two teams will be doing battle again in just a few days, as Prince Rupert and Kitimat meet for the third and final time of the season. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)|
“We’ve been off for four weeks, so it was a big win for us,” head coach Roger Atchison said after the game. “A little bit rusty, but definitely wanted that win. For the layoff I thought everything looked pretty good.”
The two sides will have a chance to renew acquaintances soon, as they matchup again on Friday, Dec. 6. The third and deciding match in the season series will go in Kitimat.
“We’re going to expect lots of energy on that big ice surface,” Atchison said. “They’re going to be ready for us on Friday. That’s a tough one with guys working and travelling on a Friday, so hopefully we’re ready like this one.”
Alex Kurial | Sports Reporter
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