The Rupert Rampage season came to an abrupt end on Saturday losing 7-2 to the Terrace River Kings.
The loss eliminates the Rampage from the CIHL playoffs bowing out in two straight in the best-of-three West Division semi-final.
“Obviously last night wasn’t the result we were looking for,” Rampage’s Ron German said. “We, as always, came out to a great start, scored the first goal, played a good solid first 20 minutes … but a bit of confusion with the officiating, maybe set us off a bit.”
For anyone, who has watched Rampage games this year, this won’t come as too much of a surprise.
“We came out in the second period, flat as flat as flat can be. Against Terrace you can’t be flat, they are solid,” German said. “They were able to fill the net on our mistakes, every mistake we made, the puck ended up in our net. We came back out, regrouped and had a decent third period, up 1-0 in the first, blown out in the second, and a 1-1 tie in the third, obviously you need to play 60 minutes to beat those guys.”
Despite the loss, German said the season left a lot of room for optimism.
“Our team has come a long way from last year, we are rebuilding and all we can hope for is a good return of our core players. Overall, the whole feeling in the dressing room was that we’ve come a long way in a year. I’d imagine 90 per cent of the players will return to this team next year.”
While the product on the ice has improved, German said he took a lot of pride in the club’s off-ice commitments.
“We had a great group of guys this year. They are hardworking and committed to the team and the community. All of our involvement with community events such as, Reading with the Rampage, the Salvation Amy and the Port, the guys like it. The kids look up to them,” German said.
“Yesterday, when we pulled up into Terrace, the Novice boys from Rupert were sitting in the stands watching. Little things like this will go a long way for our team in the future. At the end of the day we are 100 per cent a community-based team, there’s no ownership. If we don’t stay involved in that we will lose our sponsorships and support. About 85 per cent the guys on the team grew up here in Prince Rupert. The other guys that are playing are residents that have moved here to work, good quality community members. We have an amazing fan base, and it’s a good all-around feeling to be involved in it. This year has been one of the better years, since we started from a support perspective.”
Braydon Horcoff, stand-out centre, who added a whole bunch of skill and some toughness had this to say about the season ending, the support he received, and moving on to next year.
“Obviously you never want to lose and see your teammates down like that, but all-in-all we gave the fans something to cheer about and look forward to. I think we had a big presence in the community and it was a great experience playing this year, next year we will come back stronger and better.”
It definitely was a turn around season for the Rampage. If they can keep their core group together, matched with their excellent coaching staff, and unbelievable community support, there’s no reason they can’t win a round or two.