The Rampage’s attempt at a comeback fell short as the team lost against the River Kings 8-5 on Saturday night at the Jim Ciccon Civic Centre.
Prince Rupert played hard, but a weak first period saw the team give up four goals against one of the CIHL’s best teams. Despite a valiant effort to level the score, the deficit was too large to overcome.
“They got four in a row and we were flat and they came right after us,” said Rampage coach Roger Atchison. “You can’t do that against that team. When you’re down that many goals against a good team like that it’s tough.”
Prince Rupert got off to a fast start when Brendan Devries scored a minute into the game. Terrace responded by applying pressure in the Rampage zone, and delivering several bone-crushing checks along the boards. The River Kings leveled the score when Rajan Sangha score at 2:37 in the first period.
The game was relatively even for the next 10 minutes, but the River Kings dominated the last five minutes of the period, with Steve Cullis, Brian Lomas and Cory Dekelver all scoring goals in a two-and-a-half minute span to put the Rampage in a 4-1 hole.
In the second, an early powerplay goal from Cody Cringan, followed by another from Kory Movold, appeared to give the Rampage new life. But, the River Kings responded seconds later when Ben Reinbolt score to extend the lead back to two. The Rampage cut into the lead again at 15:54 when Jordan Weir scored off an assist from Jared Meers, but a turnover at centre ice followed by a shorthanded goal by Ryan Roseboom seized the momentum away from the Rampage.
“That one hurt us,” Atchison said. “We battled back after that as best we could, but you spot them four and you’re in trouble.”
The River Kings tacked on an extra goal at the end of the period by Rob Orrey to take a 7-4 lead into the third.
Rupert battled hard again with Movold scoring midway through the third period to close the gap to two goals, but the River Kings held them at bay. Reinbolt scored on an empty net in the game’s final seconds to seal the final score.
The loss drops the Rampage to 5-3-1-3, and out of their three-way first place tie with the River Kings and Quesnel Kangaroos. Their next game is a matchup against the Kitimat Ice Demons in what will likely be a physical matchup on the road in January. Atchison said the team will look to regain some of their lost momentum in that game.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks to regroup and hopefully we’re ready to go in the new year,” he said.