In an away game season opener, the Kitimat Ice Demons faced off against the Rupert Rampage, upending the opposition hosts with a 7-4 win on Oct. 16.
The Rampage fell behind early after the Ice Demons scored within the first two minutes, followed by a second goal before the end of the first period.
“We had great energy to start. We’ve been practicing hard. We told the guys if we battle and compete for 60 minutes, then we will win this game. The guys bought in, and the belief was there. The proof was there. The proof was in the pudding,” Donald Pacheco, head coach for the Ice Demons, said.
However, the Rampage did not count themselves out and hit the ice fighting back in the second period to tie the game two-a-piece. Staying strong, the Ice Demons continued their offensive onslaught scoring up 5 – 3 by the end of the second.
In the third period, it looked like a possible come-back for the home team when they came out firing to cut their opponent’s lead to one goal.
The hosts continued to hound the visitor’s defence through the final period. As time quickly ticked away, Rampage pulled their goaltender with the Ice Demons continuing their barrage on the opponents late in the third. An empty-net goal and another puck in the back of the wrong net ended the Rampage’s first game with an Ice Demons win.
The season home opener was the first competitive hockey game in more than 18 months since the global pandemic shut down organized sports across the nation.
“We have a lot of new bodies. Just trying to see what the chemistry was like, So when putting lines together, seeing who would go with who. The new guys stepped in, and they played in. I didn’t expect it for their first game, but it is nice to see,” Pacheco said, adding that all 20 players were ‘stand out’ in their efforts.
“Colton McCarthy, he was a stud tonight as well, the new acquisition Parker Evans Campbell. The goaltender Nick Almeida was phenomenal tonight. He stood on his head. He gave us a chance to win.”
McCarthy, centre for the Ice Demons, told The Northern Sentinel the team was excited to hit the ice and had been waiting for almost two years to do so.
“It was a really good first game … We have a full team, and all four lines were rolling. It took all 20 guys to take [the win],” he said.
Joel Findlay, defence, said it comes down to fun.
“We beat them to the puck …” he said. “It was great. We all had fun out there. Everybody played hard. That’s what we need. Everybody out there performed 100 per cent.”
Pacheco said the turning point of the game was right at the first hit.
“Findlay stepped up on the plate. He hammered the guy, and that caused the turnover. We scored the first goal. It got the whole team going right after. It was the good start that we needed.”
“This is one game. We are going to enjoy this win. There are a lot of things we need to work on. We are at the bottom of the hill and we want to get to the top of the mountain – that’s at the end of the season,” Pacheco said.
The game was held in a memorial tribute to the late Rupert Rampage team trainer, Jules Robinson, and dedicated to the Every Child Matters movement.
Rampage players wore commemorative orange jerseys in solidarity with the movement and memorial patches for the beloved team trainer.
The Ice Demons’ next game is on Oct. 31 against The Nechako North Stars, in Kitimat.
with files from Norman Galimski
K-J Millar | Journalist
Send K-J email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter