With two convincing wins, 6-1 Saturday over the Quesnel Kangaroos and a rollicking 12-4 trouncing of East-leading Lac La Hache Tomahawks – the Kitimat Ice Demons four points tied them with the Smithers Steelheads at the top of the CIHL standings with 20 points each on the season .
However, the Steelheads will have a game in hand.
The two teams don’t meet head-to-head until Dec. 29. when Smithers will host the Ice Demons as this long-standing rivalry continues.
On Nov. 24 the Kitimat Ice Demons got revenge for their only loss of the season so far as they trounced the Quesnel Kangaroos 6-1 in a game where they heavily out-shot the Kangaroos 48 to 30.
But for the acrobatics of Ryan Manderson in the Kangaroos’ net (who stopped 16 shots in succession during a five minute Demons’ power play), the score could have been much higher.
At the other end Demons’ Tommy Mildenberger improved his rookie-season record to 4-0-0 in net as he kicked out all but one of the Kangaroos’ shots at the goal.
Kitimat was looking for a measure of revenge over the ‘Roos who came from behind to win 4-2 on Oct. 14, for the only Demons’ loss this season.
Wade Masch, playing in only his second game of the season, got the affair started by finishing off an up ice drive by beating Manderson in a passing play that saw assists to Derek DeLisser and Jordan Goncalves. Demons made it 2-0 with a Dan Jerrett goal at 7.25 in the second, assisted by Jordan Goncalves and Kyle Boudreault. Just nine seconds later the Demons moved ahead 3-0 as Terry Whelan broke in cleanly on Manderson, who stopped his initial shot but could do no more as Kory Finn lifted the rebound into the back of the net, for his first of the season. Jordan Goncalves picked up his third assist in succession on the goal. Joey MacDonald got one back for the Kangaroos with a minute and a half left in the period (Curtis Gassoff, Joe Boyetchko) but as the period ended, with 10 second remaining, Boyetchko fell afoul of referee Chris Daniels, earning a five minute and game misconduct penalty for an egregious high sticking penalty.
After the break, the big beer garden crowd got to watch the Ice Demons on a disappointing full offensive as they poured 16 shots at Manderson, in a five on three power play, for two minutes and an additional three minutes at five on four. But the crowd was disappointed as line after line poured shots at Manderson and he stopped them all. A couple of posts and a pull-down on Wade Masch when he seemed certain to score on a breakaway contributed to the blank.
A sour note came at the 10.48 mark of the third, when Ian Coleman and Kory Finn sandwiched a Quesnel forward as he carried the puck into the Demons zone. The player was looking for the puck at his feet and Finn made head contact sending his helmet spinning into the air and Daniels assessed a head contact five minutes and a game penalty. Tommy Mildenberger was not as stressed in net as Manderson as the defence blocked and chipped out shots. He only had to make four saves in the five minutes.
But the Kangaroos could not expect their puck luck to continue – and it didn’t as Terry Whelan (Derek Wakita Jeff Mildenberger) finally broke through the defense at 10:22 before Terry Whelan dashed off the bench, shorthanded, to grab a loose puck and take a rush that resulted in a nice goal by Ian Coleman. Jeff Baker also assisted.
Ian Coleman made it two goals in succession to end the scoring at 18:07, after a nice up-ice dash by Wade Masch, sent into the clear by Derek Wakita, who also got an assist
On the Nov. 2 5afternoon, the short-handed Tomahawks rolled into Kitimat after the loss in Terrace – and showed they were both tired and suffering bus legs from the long trip. Demons coach Cliff Madsen, while not unhappy with the Saturday win, asked the Demons for a faster start – and they obliged with the opening goal in 12 seconds of the first as Ian Coleman notched the uncommon “natural” hat trick with the last two goals against Quesnel and the opener against the Tomahawks. Assists on the goal went to Derek Wakita and Jeff Mildenberger.
Lac La Hache showed why they are where they are with the next two goals, scoring to tie the game four minutes later, with Danny Nicholas (Kevin McNab, Phil Morrison) roofing a high one behind Tyson Craven and again on a power play at 8.37 with Wilf Robbins slipping one back door behind Craven. Assists to Antoine Sargeant and Danny Nicholas. Kitimat got on even terms two minutes later as Wade Masch finished off a passing play started by Jeff Baker to Ian Coleman who earned assists.
In the third, things loosened up as the Demons added six goals, three of them on the power play and the Tomahawks added two power play goals of their own. Demons were simply relentless in the third with goals scored by Brandon Wakita (2), the first on the PP, (Josh Slanina, Jeff Baker) and (Josh Slanina, William DeJong).