The Rupert Rampage gave a perfect example of why they are number one in the CIHL western conference at Saturday night’s playoff game by beating the Hazelton Wolverines 7-2 to sweep them out of the playoffs.
The Rampage started off on fire in the first, with Rob Millar scoring the team’s first goal within the first minute. Brett Stava, who was undoubtedly the gem of the evening, scored the team’s second goal at 10:43, then scored again under a minute later bringing the score to 3-0. Jeremy Boot got into the action at 15:15, scoring the fourth goal for the Rampage to give the team a 4-0 lead through 20 minutes.
In the second period, although trailing, Hazelton did not give up, playing fierce defensively. The puck spent a majority of the time in Hazelton’s zone, and the Rampage eventually overpowered the Wolverine’s defensive efforts when Brett Stava scored another goal 9:09 into the second to complete the hat trick. Although the Rampage were ahead of the Wolverine’s they still were very testy in period two, with most of their penalties being given out during the frame.
Hazelton finally found some offense with their first goal of the game being scored by Keegan Jack just over a minute into the final period. But the Rampage didn’t let that goal slide and netted their sixth goal of the evening with Brett Stava scoring again 4:14 into the third period. Around nine minutes later, brother and team captain Colt Stava scored the Rampage’s seventh and final goal of the evening. Hazelton’s Michael Beeker helped the Wolverines put more of a dent into the scoreboard 15 minutes into the final period scoring the team’s second goal, but it was too little too late.
With the win the Rampage move onto the western conference finals for the first time in team history, where they will meet a determined Kitimat Ice Demon team that swept the Terrace River Kings out of the playoffs with a win on Saturday night as well. The first game of the series will take place this Saturday in Tamitik, with game two and, if necessary, game three back in Prince Rupert next weekend.
In the eastern conference, both the Williams Lake Stampeders and Smithers Steelheads advanced to the final on Saturday night, sweeping their series against the Burns Lake Braves and the Houston Luckies.