Saturday, January 25, 2014

Rampage ready to skate into second season

With a two week break to regroup and work on their strategy, the Prince Rupert Rampage take to the ice tonight, launching the start of the best of three CIHL West Division Semi Final.

Coming into town to try and sidetrack the playoff run aspirations of the home side, will be the Terrace River Kings.  First place finishers for the regular season in the West with a record of 12 and 5 with one Overtime loss.

A twenty five point season that put them ten ahead of the Rampage, a fair share of those points gained from the Prince Rupert squad.

The Rampage had an inconsistent year through 2013 and into January of 2014, stretches of success on the ice, balanced off by frustrating periods, where the team couldn't find the net with much frequency and suffered occasional defensive lapses that quickly put the team into far too many comeback attempts.

Their record of 59 goals for and 79 against provides the backdrop of a year of learning for squad made up of many newcomers to the Rampage lineup. On ice lapses at times proving critical as the team worked its way through the fall and winter of the CIHL regular season.

For playoff success against Terrace, the Rampage will be looking to a trio of scoring leaders in their lineup to recapture some of their scoring form.  Kory Movald, Jared Meers and Craig Munro accounted for 41 points on the season for the Rampage and for the Rampage to find success they will need points from their leading scorers.

Through the season, Jordan Weir and Brock Ward were nipping at the heels of the team leaders in the race for the top five scoring for 2013-14, for the Rampage to extend their ice time deep into February of 2014, they will need that duo, as well as all hands on deck to set the tone for the showdown with Terrace.

The River Kings bring an offensive unit that can explode on the scoreboard, having collected 97 goals in the 18 game regular season, including a memorable outburst against the Rampage in December, with a 10-1 victory, a game which brought a fairly impressive 4 game Rampage winning streak to an end.

For the most part however, the remaining three match ups of the four between the River Kings and Prince Rupert this year have been much closer.

From the season opening win in Terrace of October, the match ups between the two teams  have been hard hitting and high tempo affairs, games that are are most likely to be settled by a timely goal, with this year the majority of those timely goals going the way of the River Kings.

The playoffs though, as they say are a whole new season and particularly a short playoff semi-final series such as the CIHL's schedule calls for.

Should Prince Rupert snare the win tonight at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre, they automatically put themselves into the drivers seat and add a bit of pressure to the Terrace team.

Forcing the River Kings to then have to put together a pair of back to back wins on their own ice to answer the challenge of their coastal cousins of the CIHL west.

Momentum will come from a game one victory for one of the two tonight, the Rampage hope that by the time Game one has come to an end, it's the River Kings that will be looking to regroup for the final two games.

Puck drop is 8 PM at the Jim, Tickets go on sale at the door at 7 PM

Games two and three (if necessary) take place in Terrace next weekend.

You can review our previous Rampage items from our archive page here.

The full schedule of CIHL playoff action this weekend and next can be found from the CIHL website.

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