Friday, January 29, 2016

As CIHL playoffs get underway, Rampage ready for a Saturday Night Black Out at the Jim

The Prince Rupert Rampage are calling Saturday night's opening match with Terrace a Black Out, but they'll be hoping that there's no power outage as they take on one of the CIHL's top scoring teams.

The first game of the three games series provides the loud and boisterous home town crowd a chance to send the team off into a playoff run, with a large crowd anticipated for Game One.

To fit the theme of the night, the Rampage are asking that their fans wear black to the game, a visual image that should provide some spark to what will most likely be a highly charged atmosphere Saturday night.

The last visit by the River Kings is still clearly on the mind of the Terrace squad, with memories of a packed Civic Centre crowd described to the Terrace Standard as hostile, the River Kings remembering a Rampage attack that  was fast and skilled, something which offers up an indication that the upcoming series should be an entertaining bit of hockey, where the required two out of three wins won't come easy.

The two teams are fairly close when it comes to offensive output from the regular season, Terrace holding a slight edge in the Goals For category with 87, compared to the 78  registered by the Rampage.

If there's one area where Prince Rupert has to pick up its game it will be on defence, the Rhinos struggled at times this season in the back end, with a goals against total of 80.  Reducing those opposition scoring chances will be one area to take note of through a short three game series.

Some key players for the Rampage to watch will be Ben Reinbolt, Kenny Nordstrom and Steve Cullis,  all three had over 20 points for the River Kings in the regular season, with Chapin Leblond just one point short of making it four River Kings in the over 20 club.

Getting pucks by Patrick Leal could provide a challenge for the Rampage as well, Leal, was second in goaltending this season in the CIHL, with 9 wins, 4 losses, 2 shut outs and GAA of 2.90.

However the the one intangible of a best of three series is momentum, where a hot team can ride their success to the next round pretty quickly, particularly if they can get the scoring jump on their opposition.

For that the Rampage will be looking to Josh Cook and Kory Movald for some offence, they finished 7th and 8th in the CIHL scoring race this season, with 23 and 22 points respectively.

Jared Meers, Tyler Halliday and Tyler Ostrom weren't too far behind them with points totals in the high to mid teens, making for a good core of depth scoring that will be called on as the post season gets underway.

The ultimate target as of Saturday night for both teams is the Coy Cup, the River Kings already have their tickets to that dance as the host for this years tournament, while the Rampage will be looking to crash the party by upsetting their northwest rivals in the first round of the CIHL post season.

Game time at the Jim on Saturday is 7 PM, note that tickets are available at the door only for Saturday night's matchup.

The Dress options are endless for Rampage fanatics, just as long as it's in black, a colour that the hometown fans hope will provide for a few nightmares long into the night for visiting squad from Terrace.

Any late breaking items from the Rampage camp can be found on their Facebook page or twitter feed.

More background on the Rampage regular season just past and notes as they  head into the playoffs can be found on our archive page here.

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