A vastly shorthanded Rupert Rampage team lost its second straight game, 6-2 to the Smithers Steelheads last Saturday night.
The Rampage, playing for the first time in two weeks, went to Smithers with just five defencemen and three forward lines.
“We didn’t have as many guys as we wanted and we just made too many little mistakes that cost us,” said Tyler Ostrom, who scored Rupert’s second goal. It was his first goal of the season.
Tyler Halliday scored the other goal for the Rampage, also his first of the season. The Rampage also didn’t take as many penalties as they have in the past. They were in the box six times, but struggled on the penalty kill. The Steelheads scored three powerplay goals.
The Rampage started the game strong, but it was the small things that got them in trouble with a good puck-moving team like Smithers.
Brett Roth started his second game of the season in net and despite taking the loss, none of the goals were his fault, said Ostrom.
“We didn’t help out Roth. Those little mistakes led to big things, mistakes like not getting pucks in behind them when we should have, not finishing checks and not getting the puck out,” he said.
The goaltender made 31 saves on 37 shots.
The Rampage struck first less than two minutes into the game on Halliday’s goal. But the Steelheads scored a pair of goals in the period in a string of five consecutive goals before Ostrom scored late in the third to make it 5-2. Smithers would add another power play goal in the final minute.
After back-to-back losses following a strong season start, the Rampage need to turn things around. Ostrom said the team needs to be better at forechecking and fine-tuning their play, but getting a full team back will also be key.
The loss drops Rupert to 2-2 on the year.
The Rampage will come back home for the first time since Oct. 15, hosting the Quesnel Kangaroos.
“It’s a short season so you’ve got to try and improve every game. You want to get better every game so that’s the key to this league,” said Ostrom.
The Kangaroos are a skilled team and the Rampage will need to try to contain them and make it hard for them, said the defenceman.