After a slow start, the Prince Rupert Rampage exploded with four goals in the third period to beat the Quesnel Kangaroos 6-2 last Saturday at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre.
The Rampage trailed 2-0 after the first period but came out with more life in the following periods to snag its first win since Oct. 8. Forward Ben Towner said the team played fantastic after a tough stretch the past little while.
“It was nice to have a full squad in front of a full crowd and we really pulled it together,” said Towner, who scored his first goal of the season in the second period.
It wouldn’t be a Rampage home game without players being thrown out. Jordan Aubee got tossed late in the game for fighting and several of the Kangaroos players were also thrown out to the delight of the crowd.
It’s becoming a theme that home games get aggressive late in the third period. Towner said that could be due to the home environment.
“I don’t know if it’s the fans, that we like to put on a show or maybe the other team doesn’t like to play in front of our fans because they like to heckle and give them a hard time,” he said.
There was a lot to like about the game, particularly the come-from-behind aspect that the Rampage haven’t done this year.
“We played really well as a team, making a lot of smart passes, breaking the puck out of our zone really well and we finished some chances which we really haven’t done all season,” Towner said.
The Kangaroos struck first on a goal less than five minutes into the game. The Rampage struggled throughout the period, particularly in getting the puck out of their own zone. Quesnel added a goal late in the frame to lead 2-0.
But a different Rampage team came out for the second period, and with more confidence.
Towner scored on the powerplay to cut the lead in half and Hayden Long tied it up halfway through the period with the teams playing 4-on-4.
The Rampage looked more alive, winning more battles behind the net and creating opportunities. But that was nothing compared to what was in store for the third period.
The final frame was filled with goals and excitement, with several players being thrown out. Tyler Halliday tapped in a rebound to score his second of the season and give Rupert its first lead of the game and the team never looked back.
Skating towards the net in an offensive rush, Long hit Braydon Horcoff with a pretty pass, setting him up perfectly to fire it past the Kangaroos tender and giving Rupert a 4-2 lead.
Also in the period, Josh Cook and Jean-Luc Fournier scored, the latter which chased the goalie from the game.
Along with Aubee being given a misconduct, several Quesnel players were also thrown out, showing little restraint in the 6-2 shellacking.
Devin Gerrits started for Rupert, posting another strong start.
It’s nice to get the win, but starting games strong is really important and something the team needs to work on, said Towner.
“It’s tough to come back in this league, so I think we need to come out real hard in our next game.”
The Rampage will have the chance to do just that in Kitimat this weekend against an Ice Demons team that has lost all six of its games this season.