Friday, February 17, 2017

Rampage make ready for Round Two showdown with River Kings

The Jim Ciccone Civic Centre is set to be the centre of all attractions
with  two showcase events taking place this weekend 

Should School District 52 and the Golf Course wish to make a little extra cash this weekend, we suggest making the parking lot between Prince Rupert Middle School and the Golf Course/Racquet Club pay parking for Saturday night.

The prospects of a financial bounty would seem solid as thousands of visitors and residents descend on the nearby Civic Centre for what should be a memorable evening on many fronts.

In a confluence of sporting spectaculars, both the Russell Gamble Gymnasium and the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre to be the focus of all attention on Saturday, as two major sports events play out through the course of the evening.

The first is the day long festival of the Finals for the All Native Basketball Tournament taking place on the hardwood in the Russell Gamble Gym, as those final moments for another memorable the tournament wind down.

Next door in the Jim Ciccone Rink, the hometown Rampage will move into the second round of the CIHL playoffs as they welcome the Terrace River Kings for a 7 PM puck drop.

The series debut offers up a strong challenge for the Rhinos, who will be taking on a well rested River King squad and a team that has had some success against Prince Rupert through the regular season.

The two teams matched up four times over the last four months with the River Kings holding a three game to one advantage on the season series.

The only Rampage victory coming on October 8th when Prince Rupert topped the River Kings by a 4-2 margin.

Since that early season setback, the River Kings seem to have sorted out the Rhino's strengths and weaknesses, as the Terrace squad pulled away in the CIHL standings down the final stretch of the CIHL season.

To put some pressure on the visitors Saturday, the Rampage will be looking to  a quartet of offensive threats who all had some significant success in round one against Kitimat.

Kory Movold, Ryan Stace-Smith, Jared Meers and Craig Munro all collected four points in first round action, with a number of other members of the Rhino roster chipping in as the Rampage swept the Ice Demons.

The second round series also offers up a the possibility of a very good Goaltenders duel, as both Devin Gerrits and Patrick Leal were one/two during the regular season with but a few points separating them in the Goalie Leaders table.

Shutting down the Terrace scoring attack will be instrumental for the Rampage should they hope to advance to the CIHL championship round, the River Kings have three main scoring threats for the Rampage defensive unit to key in on.

Luke Walker, Ben Reinbolt and Steve Cullis  will all deserve special attention, with the trio finishing off the regular season strong, the three contributing 70 points over the course of the 2016-17 season.

Keeping out of the penalty box will be another area where the Rampage will be looking to be cautious, down the final stretch of the regular season it was penalty trouble that offered no shortage of woes for the Rupert squad, though when it comes to this series the Special teams story is almost even.

The Rampage head into game one holding an edge in Power play conversions, while the Terrace squad had a superior record of penalty killing in the regular season.

Those are all themes will weave together tomorrow night, as what should be a raucous crowd prepares to send the home side off with a win as they make their way to Terrace for games two and three next weekend.

You can review those four head to head match-ups from our scoreboard archive here.

In the other semi-final the Quesnel Kangaroos will host the Williams Lake Stampeders, Quesnel heads into their second round hot off their game three victory over Smithers last weekend .

You can track the second round of the playoffs from our Playoff Archive page here.

You can follow any updates on the weekend showdown through the Rampage Facebook page.

More notes on the Rampage and the CIHL can be reviewed on our Rampage Archive page

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