By Shaun Thomas - The Northern View
Published: September 28, 2010 11:00 PM
Hockey fans in Prince Rupert were treated to some fast skating hard-hitting CIHL action last weekend as the Rampage played host to the Kitimat Ice Demons and the Smithers Steelheads in a three-team round robin tournament for the Northern Challenge Cup.
The first game of the series on Friday night saw the Rampage face off with the Ice Demons - last years Western Conference Champions and perenial Coy Cup challengers. But it would be the Rampage who struck first as Rob Millar, who led the team with 14 goals and 11 assists in 16 games, took a feed from linemate Brett Stava and beat Kitimat netminder Brett Vilness 5:24 into the first period much to the delight of the more than 600 fans in attendance.
The two teams proved to be even through the second period, giving the Rampage a one-goal lead heading into the final frame. But the Demons Jeremy Brady put the puck by Rampage goalie Keith Movold early in the third and an exciting finish was in store for the crowd. After some more back and forth play, the Rampages top line scored as Colt Stava and Brett Stava got the assist on Rob Millars second goal of the night. While Kitimat would up the pressure late in the period, the defence and Movold had the answer to the Kitimat onslaught as the Rampage took the 2-1 victory.
On Saturday it was two out of town teams hitting the ice at the Jim Ciccone arena, with Smithers and Kitimat lacing up in game two - a physical affair that saw 10 game misconducts handed out to the two teams.
Smithers took the lead early in the game, with Devon Hayhurst beating Kitimats Kollin Alderman less than 10 minutes in and Spencer Brooks giving Smithers a two goal lead with 1:01 to
In the second Smithers made it a three goal lead as Adam Devries scored less than a minute in, but Kitimat would pull to within two by the end of the period on a goal by Wade Masen with 2:37 to
That would be it for the Demons though, as Devon Booth of Smithers had the only goal of the third to hand Kitimat its second loss in as many days by a final score of 4-1.
That would set the stage for Sundays final game between the Rampage and the Steelheads to determine who would hoist the Northern Challenge Cup, and it would prove to be another exciting game in front of another large crowd.
Once again it was Prince Rupert that opened the scoring, as Chris Brlecic put one by Steelheads netminder Tyler Perrault with 10:43 to play in the first period.
As the two teams battled back and forth throughout the rest of the period and the second, Perrault and Dan Lorette of the Rampage were able to hold their ground and Rupert took that one goal lead into the last minute of play. But with less than 10 seconds left to play in the game, the Steelheads Ian Smith found the back of the net to send the game to overtime.
When the five minutes of overtime didnt solve anything, the two sides got set for a shootout to determine the winner of the game and the tournament. In the first round of the shootout, Smith was denied by Lorette while Rampage captain Colt Stava beat Perrault. In the second round Lorette stopped Matt Arnold and Brlecic beat Perrault to give the Rampage the game and the challenge cup for 2010.