On Saturday night the Prince Rupert Rampage were in action at home against the Lac La Hache Tomahawks, and won in a big way, grabbing a 6-2 victory over their eastern opponents.
The first period started with an early penalty to Lac La Hache. Followers of the scrappy team won’t be surprised to know that their rough trends continued in this game, filled with penalties and arguments with the referees.
It’s not particularly the type of hockey one wants to see, as crowds have been made familiar with some exciting skilled hockey this year from the same Rampage.
On Saturday night there was still a lot of skill on display, despite the parade to the penalty box.
After off-setting penalties to Prince Rupert and Lac La Hache, Rupert forward Josh Cook pounced on a loose pass at the opposing blue line, walked in and shelved it over Lac La Hache goalie Willie Sellars.
Penalties to Jordan Aubee for elbowing, off-setting penalties to both teams, then a penalty to Armand Powell of the Rampage for interference, continued the trend of players vacating themselves from the game to sit and think about what they did wrong.
This point wasn’t being driven home to many of the athletes, as not even halfway through the first period, there were nine penalties.
The Rampage’s Kory Movold had a great chance as Cook again took it hard to the net and created a rebound which Movold almost put in.
Lac La Hache was gaining momentum, taking pucks to the net as well, and creating traffic in front and that contributed to their first goal. Tim Evans from the Tomahawks buried a rebound on Rupert goalie Jarrod Hildebrandt after a shot came from the half boards.
Cook responded with a great individual effort, taking the puck from behind the Tomahawks’ net and bringing it out front into the slot, to snipe it top right above the goalies glove to make it 2-1 Rampage.
Turnovers and penalties plagued the play, and Hildebrandt bailed out his team on several occasions, with loose play through the neutral zone.
After back-to-back five-on-three power plays for the Rampage, Cook made a great feed to Movold who stuffed the puck low short side past the Lac La Hache goaltender. The period ended with a fight and the score 3-1.
The second began with fast-paced action, but the penalty parade continued.
Horcoff and Tyler Halliday made a nice tandem on the penalty kill, killing the penalty with Halliday centring. In the attacking zone, he pushed the puck forward off the face-off and found himself in all alone, only to see the Lac La Hache goalie push the net off with his leg after going down.
Prince Rupert was sharp in the second period, making crisp passes. Lac La Hache couldn’t keep up and continued the abuse, taking charging and high sticking penalties. Rupert followed suit taking a couple undisciplined penalties later in the period and that cost them, as the Tomahawks’ Richard MacDonald let a wrist shot go from the point and it saw its way through a maze of bodies into the back of the net for a 3-2 score.
There were more penalties and as the period was winding down, Movold picked up the puck at centre, streaked down right wing, undressed the Lac La Hache defenceman, undressed the goalie with the head-fake, fore-hand, then brought the puck back to the back-hand and slid it home into the empty net for the pretty marker.
Braydon Horcoff then decided to drop the gloves, and got into a good tilt. The Tomahawks continued the pressure despite losing several players to game misconducts. They couldn’t hold off the pressure forever, as again Movold notched another power-play marker, shooting the puck five-hole between the goaltender’s legs. That made it 5-2.
Movold wasn’t done, earning a hat-trick with his fourth point of the night. This was the Rampage’s third power play goal and 6-2 was the final tally for the good guys.
“Two points is two points,’ said coach Roger Atchison.
“Pretty slow game, lots of penalties, it was hard for each team to get any flow. Everyone had a couple good shifts here and there … I thought Jordan Vendittelli had a good game. (He) had a couple good chances, I thought he stepped up. We go on a big road trip – Williams Lake and Quesnel. Hopefully we’ll have our A team on the road and see what happens,” the coach added.
“It wasn’t our best effort, but we got the win. It was good to bounce back after our game against Terrace, it’s good to get back on the winning track,” said Rampage defenceman Derek Baker.
Baker spoke of the penalty trouble Rupert had been getting into lately.
“It’s something we have to clean up, I think coming into this weekend we were the most penalized team in the league. If we want to make it to our ultimate goal of winning the championship, then we can’t take penalties like we have been,” said Baker.
It was a good hard fought win for the Rampage and the team will be on the road in two weeks to battle Williams Lake on Saturday, Nov. 28. They currently sit with an overall record of 4-2-1 (W-L-OTL).