Monday, November 24, 2014

Tough Times in the Bulkley Valley for the Rampage

This past weekend proved to be a struggle for the Prince Rupert Rampage, with a pair of losses to the Smithers Steelheads who climbed the standings in the CIHL West with some convincing victories on Saturday and Sunday.

Friday night was a dominating one for the host Steelheads, who scored three quick first period goals to set the pace for a final score of 8-2 by the time the final whistle blew.

Scoring for the Rampage came in the second period as Ben Towner picked up the first of the two goals for the Rampage, converting a Mike Coolin pass for the marker.

Kory Movold combined with Coolin and Towner for the second goal on the evening, putting a wrap on the Rampage scoring at 17:27 of the middle frame.

Smithers rattled off three more goals in the second period, with two more to come in the third on the way to the win that opened up the two game series with the Rampage.

One stat that stands out from Saturday night's game is that not one penalty was called in the course of the sixty minutes, making for a fairly easy game for the officials who for the most part were tasked with fishing pucks out of the net for the majority of the game.

With 8 goals on the night Smithers obviously spent a fair amount of time in the Rupert end of the rink, leaving Devin Gerrits to face 59 shots on the evening. 

Prince Rupert's offensive play accounted for 37 shots directed towards Smithers goaltender David Little, who held off the Rampage incursions for all but two of those shots.

Sunday afternoon offered up some push back from the Prince Rupert side, with the Rampage getting off to a quick start in the afternoon finale to their series.

Greg Sheppard opened up the Rampage scoring, firing the opening marker of the day at 5:16 of the period, with assists going to Kory Movald and Ben Towner.

The lead held until the mid point of the first when Smithers picked up two quick goals to head into the intermission with a 2-1 lead.

The Rampage tied the game up at 9:49 of the middle period as Derek Baker put the finishing touches on a scoring play that provided assists to Greg Sheppard and Jared Davis.

Smithers would regain their momentum in the final five minutes of the second, with two quick goals, however the Rampage made things interesting once again with Ben Towner converting a power play opportunity at 19:29 of the third, assisted by Kory Movald and Greg Sheppard.  

With the Rampage heading into the third period trailing by just one goal, they put pressure on the Smithers squad, but couldn't find the equalizer in the first ten minutes of the third.

Smithers finally put some space between themselves and the visitors at 9:20 grabbing the 5-3 lead and holding off any further Rampage efforts on the day.

Sunday's match up was a bit more spirited than the Saturday evening effort, with the Rampage assessed 2 penalties on the day, while Smithers sat for six minutes on three infractions.

Jarrod Hildebrandt did a remarkable job in the Rampage nets on Sunday, facing 60 shots on the day, at the other end of the rink the Rampage fired 35 shots at Smithers Keano Wilson, who turned aside all but 3 for the Smithers victory.

The twin wins for the Steelheads set up a clear line between the top teams in the West.

With their four points Smithers moved six points closer to division leading Terrace, while both the Prince Rupert Rampage and the Kitimat Ice Demons continue with their struggles to make any head way in the standings.

Both teams have but one win and one Over time loss on the season, holding three points in the standings, with the Rampage having played one more game so far in the 2014-15 season.

Though for the Rampage, the parallel troubles for Kitimat of late, offer up the prospect of an ongoing battle for the final playoff position between the two squads.

Something that could get sorted out a bit this Saturday night, when the Rampage visit the Ice Demons in Kitimat. 

That game will bring to an end November's month long road journey for the Rampage, who on December 7th will host their first home game at the Jim since November 1st.

For more items on the Prince Rupert Rampage see our Results page here, or our Rampage Archive page here.

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