Saturday night's finale to the 2016 portion of the CIHL schedule for the Rhinos once again found the home side playing catch up for much of the night, something which did made for a pretty exciting finish, but in the end was just a bit too much of a hill to climb for the Rampage by the time the clock ran out.
The Smithers Steelheads made for the competition on Saturday, the Smithers squad travelling to Rupert with a very short bench, making for very short shifts for the bench, though it was a challenge for the Steelheads that didn't appear to offer up too much of a concern as they took the final by a score of 5-3.
The two teams traded off goals in the first period, with the Steelheads taking the lead early on with a marker at the 3:18 point of the opening frame, a goal which was answered fourteen minutes later when Josh Cook picked up his fourth goal of the season, with helpers going to Cole Atchison and Jordan Aubree.
Period two was all Smithers with Raj Sangha making for an impressive night picking up a short handed goal midway through the second, while Joel Gellvear pushed the Steelheads to a two goal lead to wrap up the period.
The Steelheads threatened to run away with the game as the final five minutes of the third period arrived, as Gellvear and Sangha teamed up again to give Smithers a 4 to 1 lead, which was the cue for the Rampage to give some thought to a come back.
Perhaps taking advantage of a tiring Steelheads line up, Jared Carter scored at 17 minutes with Tyler Halliday and Marcus Atchison grabbing the assists briefly putting the noise back into the Jim for a few minutes.
However, the Steelheads answered the wake up call quickly, taking advantage of the Rampage empty net to salt away their victory with their final goal of the night at 18:43.
The Rampage added one more note for the score sheet less than thirty seconds later when Jacob Santurbano fired one into the Steelhead net having converted some nice passing by Marcus Atchison and Hayden Long, but that would be all that they had on the night, with Smithers holding off the final push to secure the 5-3 final.
The night was a relatively peaceful one for the referees, the thirty minutes of penalties pretty well equally divided among the three periods, with the Steelheads assessed 12 minutes of time on six penalties, while the Rampage were in the box for eighteen minutes on nine infractions.
Brett Roth was tagged for the Saturday night loss, facing 24 shots on the evening, while Smithers Keano Wilson had a strong game in nets as well, making 27 saves on 30 shots.
The full scoresheet from the game can be reviewed here.
|Saturday night's CIHL game at the Jim marked the High Definition Debut|
for the Prince Rupert Rampage, with CityWest broadcasting the match up
on their newly launched Hi Definition channel 310
With the loss the Rampage the Rampage fall a little bit further behind the upper tier of the CIHL standings, stalled at 5 wins, 5 losses and 1 Overtime Loss on their eleven games.
That makes for a fourth place spot in the six team circuit. All of which makes the Rampage score board watchers this weekend hoping for twin results that keep the status quo in place.
The Rhinos trail Smithers by three points heading into the holiday break, a margin which could be wider this weekend when Smithers hosts Kitimat.
Just behind the Rampage are the Quesnel Kangaroos who are but two points off the pace, holding fifth place for the moment with a chance to catch up on Saturday when the play Williams Lake.
For Prince Rupert the holiday break takes them through to Friday, January 6th when they head to Kitimat for the start of a home and home series with the Ice Demons.
The two teams head back to Prince Rupert on Saturday, January 7th when they take to the ice at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre for a 7 PM start.
You can review the Rampage season to this point from our Results page here.
More notes on the Rampage and the CIHL can be found on our Archive page.