On their last regular season road trip, the Prince Rupert Rampage’s current hot streak fizzled out when they faced the powerhouse and West Division first-place Smithers Steelheads for two games last Saturday and Sunday.
In their first game, the Rampage dropped Saturday’s tilt against the Steelheads 8-6 in a high-scoring affair.
The boys followed up that result with a 9-4 loss on Sunday the next day.
The results weren’t what the team wanted going into the playoffs, but with a depleted roster making the trip because of nagging injuries as well as work commitments, the outcomes couldn’t come as too big of a surprise.
There’s no doubt the weekend was not the way the team wanted to end its regular season, but surely the group will use this as motivation going into their playoffs match-up against Terrace, whom they will face in a best-of-three series in the first round.
The first game on the weekend saw four first period goals from the Rampage with their trademark quick start.
Forward Cole Atchison notched two of them, but in the second and third periods the wheels fell off, and Smithers’ momentum carried them to the 8-6 victory.
The matinee game on Sunday saw Smithers jump out to the early lead, and four second period goals helped spur them on to the 9-4 win.
Atchison hit the score-sheet again for the Rampage, with fellow forward Craig Munro adding a goal and an assist.
Both games saw far less penalties than the teams are accustomed to.
The discipline and attitude were good indicators that the team’s mindset is firmly where it needs to be starting the playoffs, where mental toughness will help decide a series.