Battling back from two three-goal deficits, the Prince Rupert Rampage’s valiant third-period comeback efforts were snuffed out in a 6-4 loss Saturday night at the Terrace Sportsplex against the River Kings.
Down 3-0 after the first period and later 4-1, the Rampage found themselves in a hole early against one of the Central Interior Hockey League’s (CIHL) most imposing teams to begin this 2014-15 season.
“We have a good skating team and so do they,” said Rampage trainer Jules Robinson on Sunday.
“They’re getting a lot better each time we meet them.”
And the Rampage (1-1) almost had the game tied 5-5 with under four minutes left in the contest when forwards Kory Movold and Tyler Bates streaked down the ice on a 2-on-0 rush.
Movold shot but the puck went wide, and the Rampage’s hopes of winning their first road test were put to bed, but not without a furious third period that saw Rupert score three times to make the game 5-4.
“We weren’t happy with the way the last 10 minutes of the first period went but the team regrouped and got back to the game plan the coaches put together for us,” said defenceman Derek Baker on Sunday.
Terrace (3-0) potted three markers before the game was 20 minutes old, peppering goaltender Devon Gerrits with shots.
River Kings captain Steve Cullis scored twice and Corbin Legros added another tally for Terrace to give them the early lead.
In the second, the Rampage woke up and notched a goal of their own from their own captain Jared Meers. The team’s top line of Meers, Movold and Bates combined for that play.
But Terrace would add another marker of their own in the second frame as Ben Reinbolt gave Terrace the 4-1 lead.
Jordan Aubee and Calen Findlay went toe-to-toe in the game’s only scrap.
“We ran into some penalty trouble and Terrace was able to capitalize with four power-play goals. If we had limited the number of powerplays by one or two it could have been a different outcome,” said Baker.
The Rampage charged out of the gate for the third frame where Craig Munro would score twice and Movold would add another, but an empty net goal by Cullis sealed the game for the River Kings who now start the year 3-0 for the first time since the CIHL started keeping track of the games in 2009.
Rupert was also able to hold Luke Gordon, an ex-Western Hockey League player with the Everett Silvertips for three games, to just one assist, although Cullis stepped up for the team with two goals and an assist.
“They have a really deep team that plays a physical brand of hockey but once we started to use our speed and establish the forecheck we started to have some success,” said Baker.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
The Smithers Steelheads fell to Lac La Hache by a score of 6-1 on Saturday night while the Williams Lake Stampeders continued to roll, beating Quesnel 7-3 for a 3-0 start to the season. Williams Lake and Terrace remain the only undefeated teams, each carrying 3-0 records.