Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Rampage hang up their blades for the season

Last Friday night brought a close to the 2014-15 season for the Prince Rupert Rampage, the loss, a 5-1 defeat at the hands of their regional rival the Terrace River Kings, was one of fourteen on the year, revealing some of the struggles that the team has faced over sixteen games.

For the record, Jordan Weir will be recorded as scoring the last goal in the 2014-15 season for the Rampage, his marker at 9:06 of the first period, with assists going to Craig Munro and Ben Towner. 

The Rampage held that 1-0 lead until the early stages of period number two when the division leading Terrace River Kings finally charged up their potent offence and rattled off five consecutive goals through the rest of the game.

The wrap up to the season was a physical affair, featuring a second period that highlighted some of the animosity between the two teams, coupled with a season full of frustrations for the home side as 12 of the 17 penalties in the game were assessed in the middle frame.

The majority of the nastiness of period two was highlighted by punishment for slashing, holding, roughing and high sticking infractions.

Two goaltenders shared the load on Friday for the Rampage, with Devin Gerritts facing the bulk of the shots on the night, turning aside 28 of the 33 that were directed his way.  Jarrod Hildebrand had 9 and half minutes of playing time, making five saves on five shots during his time in the game.

The Rampage were stymied by the River Kings' Patrick Leal, who turned aside all but one of the 21 attempts that Prince Rupert chased down in the Terrace end on the night.

The full summary of Friday nights match up can be found here.

Scoring proved to be one of the Achilles heels for the Rampage through the season, they exit the regular season with the lowest Goals For record in the league at just 50 over their sixteen games.

Work will be needed on defence as well heading into next season, as they look to improve a Goals Against record that was the second highest in the CIHL at 94, with only Lac La Hache allowing more goals through the year.

Special Teams will be another area to address for 2015-16, the Rampage finished this season with a power play percentage of 11.36 lowest in the circuit, while they also were near the bottom of the listings for Penalty Killing with a PK percentage of 74 per cent.

2014-15 was a year of rebuilding, the reality of senior hockey is one of changing line ups, departures and arrivals based more on outside employment requirements and family situations, than on hockey decisions.

For the Rampage a young core of players made their mark through the year and while a tough season of lessons learned was to be found, the experiences from the start of the year to the final game should offer up a good foundation for next season.

As for the individual stats, the Rampage featured two threats on offence in 2014-15

Kory Movald and Jared Meers led the Rampage in scoring for the year.

Movald recorded 7 goals and 10 assists over the 16 game season, his 17 points placing him at 24th in overall scoring in the CIHL.

Meers as well claimed the 24th spot overall, with 10 goals and 7 assists for 17 points, his totals could have been higher, as he only suited up in 13 of the season's 16 games.

Goaltender Devin Gerrits carried the bulk of the work in the nets for the year with 11 Games played, he fared well stacking up against the rest of the CIHL.  Hosting a save percentage of .855 and a goals against average of 5.53, which left him near the middle of the pack for the year.

Despite their struggles on the ice, the Rampage continue to be one of the more successful of CIHL teams at the gate, through their eight home games of 2014-15 the Rampage played in front of an average crowd of 502,  making for a season total of 4,018.

The constant stream of Rupertites into the Jim made the Civic Centre the home of the third highest attendance in the league.

Friday night's season finale was highlighted by a ceremony acknowledging the efforts through the years of Bill McChsesney and Tim Wright, who were recognized for their long time work on keeping hockey alive in the community.

The pair of local hockey icons can trace their involvement in the local hockey scene back to the legendary teams of the seventies, when the Kings ruled the rinks of Northern British Columbia.

An atmosphere that the past and current members have called on through their time and a legacy that no doubt the future members of the Rampage hope to build on as they look ahead to the next season.

The CIHL playoffs get underway on January 31st when the Terrace River Kings host the Smithers Steelheads and Williams Lake faces off against Quesnel.

You can review our past archive of Rampage items here.

To follow the CIHL Playoffs as they move forward, this link to the CIHL website will provide a schedule and results page for the playoff stretch.

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