Monday, January 30, 2023

Weekend split keeps race tight in CIHL West for Rampage, River Kings

Two games with identical scores, with wins for two western rivals mean that not much has change in the CIHL west as the final push to playoff time arrives.

This past weekend saw the home and home series between the Prince Rupert Rampage and the Terrace River Kings go the way of the visitors in each instance with scores of 4-3 in each instance the final score line.

Friday night the Rampage were on the road in Terrace, where a fast paced affair saw the Rhino's take an early lead and then settle in for what became a last shot wins affair, with extra time required to sort it all out.

Hunter Johnson opened the scoring Friday night for the Rhinos at 4:27 of the first period with Judd Repole and Brody Ward picking up the helpers.

The River Kings reversed that karma two minutes later, adding a second goal at just before fourteen minutes of play in the first.

The Rampage answered and tied the game up at 18:42 of the period, with Reid Lindsay finding the twine, with assists going to Judd Repole and Marcus Atchison, sending the two teams to intermission knotted up at 2-2.

The Second period went the way of the River Kings who scored the only goal of the middle frame to take the lead after forty minutes.

The Prince Rupert side closed that gap at 5:50 of the third period, the only marker of the period going to Reid Lindsay, with his second of the game the assist going to Cole Atchison.

That set the stage for a frantic first few minutes of Overtime, with the Rampage coming out on top, Lindsay again part of the winning play, this time as a play maker assisting Hunter Johnson on the OT marker to take the win.

All things considered it was a quiet night on the penalty front, with the Rampage assessed 14 minutes on 7 infractions, the River Kings had 12 minutes in the penalty box, on six infractions.

Kieran Sharpe picked up the win in the nets, turning aside 38 of the 41 shots that went his way.

721 fans took in the match up at the Terrace Ice Arena

The full review of the scoresheet can be explored here.

The largest crowd of the year so far, took in the River Kings/Rampage 
match up Saturday night at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Arena

Less than twenty four hours later, the two team renewed their acquaintances at the Jim, with a boisterous crowd of 985 just fifteen short of 1,000 fans taking in the physical and penalty filled contest.

The two teams were taking the measure of each other in the first which had no scoring to record, but the start of the penalty parade with a number of penalties assessed to both team in the opening frame.

The majority of the goal scoring came in the middle frame, with the River Kings taking a 2 goal lead by the midway point, the Rampage gained one back at 10:24 when Cole Atchison scored an unassisted marker to make the score 2-1.

Terrace was quick to get that back holding a 3-1 lead until Hunter Atchison scored at 18:05 assisted by Dustin Johnson and Judd Repole.

That sent the two teams to the dressing room with Terrace in the lead 3-2 with twenty minutes to play.

The visitors built on the lead at the midway point of the final period, setting the stage for strong, but ultimately unsuccessful push by the home side to find an equalizer and send the game to extra time.

Brody Hemrich, got one back at 13.49 assisted by Austin Weir and Tyler Ostrom, but the comeback was snuffed out by Terrace which closed its ranks and shut down the Rampage attack, making for a 4-3 final in favour the River Kings.

As noted above, the play was physical and the penalties frequent, with the River Kings assessed the larger share with 36 minutes on 10 infractions, while the Rampage served 26 minutes to time on 9 infractions.

The two teams who have seen each other often this last month, now won't have a chance to renew acquaintances until the playoffs, should the stars align accordingly.

Kieran Sharpe was tagged with the loss, facing 28 shots with four finding the range to secure victory for Terrace.

The full scoresheet can be reviewed here.

click to enlarge

The results did nothing to change the standings in the West, which see Rupert atop the division with 20 Points just one ahead of their fierce rivals of the Skeena Valley.

Both teams however are now off the pace set by the league leading Quesnel Kangaroos and the Williams Lake  Stampeders who are 1 and 2 in the CIHL with 24 and 23 points respectively.

While the home side didn't pick up the two points on the night in the Standings, the Rampage and their volunteers work on behalf of the Fight against Cancer were the big winners on the night.

A final total has yet to be release, but just by the surging volume of community support outlined through the team's Social media stream, the final night of their January fundraising should have been one that more than exceeded their hopes at the start of the month. 

The Regular season wraps up next weekend and the Rampage start things off with a road trip to Kitimat Friday night. 

Saturday the team is back at home at the Jim to take on the Smithers Steelheads, with the final puck drop of the Regular season set for 7PM.

The four points of the final weekend something that will be key towards playoff placements in the weeks ahead.

You can keep up with CIHL notes through our archive page here.

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