Published: February 22, 2011 7:00 AM
The Williams Lake Stampeders bid for a CIHL playoff championships took a hit Saturday as the Kitimat Ice Demons opened the best-of-three series with a 7-4 win at the Tamitik Arena.
With a 12-2 loss during last year’s game one playoff final still fresh in the minds of Ice Demons players, Kitimat — led by rookie goaltender Kollin Alderman — leapt out to a 4-3 first period lead with Blaine Markwart potting a natural hat trick to set the pace for the Ice Demons early.
Scoring for the Stamps in the first period were Paul Girodat, Chris Bohlin and Francis Johnson.
In the second period the Ice Demons fired 20 shots on Stamps’ netminder Justin Foote and added three more goals to capture a 7-3 lead heading into the third period with goals from Kory Finn, Jeffrey Mildenberger, before Markwart added his fourth of the contest.
Williams Lake scored the lone goal of the third period when Jason Wright fired a puck past Alderman to cap off the scoring on the night.
Ice Demons head coach Danny Baker said he was pleased with the way the Ice Demons controlled the play for much of the game.
“All the lines contributed well and we were ready for them this year,” Baker said.
“Alderman played very well in net, under a lot of pressure, and the boys in front limited the Stampeders chances to get at him.”
The Ice Demons Markwart, Wade Masch and Craig Hewitson line combined for a total of nine points in Markwart’s four-goal outburst.
Game two of the final series goes this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. Game three, if necessary, goes Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
The two games will be the last home games of the season for the Stampeders.
Regardless of the outcome of the CIHL playoff final, both teams are guaranteed a spot to compete at the Coy Cop senior men’s provincial hockey championship in Prince Rupert in March.