Monday, February 5, 2018

Rampage season is done, as Stamps Sweep Semi final Series

Despite the additional man in the house of a boisterous crowd at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre, the Prince Rupert Rampage could not overcome a strong offensive push from the visiting Williams Lake Stampeders, with the Cariboo squad claiming a 7-3 victory over the home side Saturday night and with the win, a 2-0 sweep of their Best of Three CIHL semi final.

The Rampage held tough in the first twenty minutes of the match up, surrendering an early goal less than three minutes into the game, but answering the marker at 9:13 when Patrick Robert and Jordan Aubee combined on Patrick's goal to tie things up midway through the first.

The only lead on the night for Rhinos came two minute later when Tyler Ostrom scored an unassisted power play marker to make it a 2-1 advantage for the Rhinos, a short lived one as things turned out with the Stamps knotting things up again about two minutes later and then taking a 3-2 lead into the intermission at 16:43.

The rest of the night belonged to the Cariboo visitors, with two goals in the second pushing the Stamps to a 5-2 advantage, followed by two more in the final frame.

The final goal for the 2017-18 season for Prince Rupert came off the stick of Cole Atchison at 7:09 with the helper going to Cody Kodkimaki, the final Rampage marker on the night made for a 7-3 result on the Stampeder side of the score sheet and a 2-0 record in the books for the semi final Best of three.

The game was an intense and physical affair with the Rampage frustrations finding them on the top end of the penalty totals with 22 minutes assessed on 11 infractions, the Stamps sat out 14 minutes in the penalty box on seven infractions.

The goal tending duties were split at the Rampage end of the rink with Dave Wood working just over two thirds of the first period before he had to step aside after facing eight shots and three goals,owing to his injured groin. 

Brett Roth played the rest of the 43 minutes facing 29 shots on the night, making 25 Saves during his time in the Rampage nets.

Willie Sellars held off the Rampage attack for the Stamps, turning aside all but three of the 26 shots that Prince Rupert directed his way.

The full scoring summary from Saturday night can be found here.

The Stampeders now move on to the CIHL Finals, where they will take on the Terrace River Kings, the Terrace squad also swept their semi final match up, claiming a 6-2 home ice victory on Saturday and the 2-0 victory of the Best of Three series.

Both the River Kings and Stampeders will also qualify for this years Coy Cup, with Williams Lake hosting the tournament, they will receive a berth in the Senior Men's hockey championship regardless of the outcome of the next series.

Game One of the Best of Three Final is set for Williams Lake on February 10th, Games Two and if necessary Game Three will take place the following weekend if the 17th at the Terrace Sportsplex Arena.

As they are both finalists in the CIHL's season ending playoff series, the River Kings will also be part of the Coy Cup Championships which takes place in late March.

For the Rampage, the off season beckons and watching for the reports from the member communities will make for part of their work ahead, with Smithers having suspended its operations this year, the league was reduced to a five team circuit and the off season always seems to provide for challenges as to whether the member clubs can continue on with their plans for the year ahead.

Putting together a roster is always a daunting prospect for team management, with extended travel requirements for the players mixing with work schedules that sometimes can leave the team light on the bench during the course of the CIHL season.

Adding to the possible challenges for the league are reports that both Quesnel and Williams Lake continue to remain on the radar for potential Junior hockey franchises, with Williams Lake now the current front runner for that prospect.

Despite a good crowd on Saturday night, Prince Rupert saw a significant drop off in attendance over the last season, an alarming trend that caught the attention of team management earlier this year, finding a way to rebuild the season ticket base will make for just one of a number tasks ahead for the Rampage as they look towards future.

Off season updates can be reviewed from the Rampage Facebook page, twitter feed and team website.

We will continue to track the CIHL playoffs and the Coy Cup Championship from our Results page  here.

For more items of note about the CIHL see our News archive page.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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