The persistent Williams Lake Stampeders played a very workmanlike Coy Cup final game, scoring a 5-1 win over host Kitimat Ice Demons on Saturday.
Kitimat had the bye to final with an undefeated round robin record, but the Stamps earned this one by simply outworking the Ice Demons throughout most of the game. Not to say the home team did not play or try hard, but this young Demons team were a bit demoralized after losing veteran defenceman David Venman just before the end of the first period, when he was run into the boards and suffered an upper body in jury that left him unable to return to the game. However, 1,000 fans turned out to enjoy a good hockey game and that’s what they got. It was tightly played and tightly reffed, but the Stamps came out fast and took the Demons’ game plan out of their hand, getting the opening goal in the first at 7:07 on the power play from Dylan Richardson (Tyler Fuller, Stuart Sasges). Not to be deterred the Ice Demons equalized to 1-1 at the 10 :07 mark of the period when Scott McGregor hefted a high shot over Justin Foote, after he and Jeff Mildenberger, managed to break around the defence on goaltender Justin Foote.
Williams Lake pressed back immediately and scored three minutes later, on a nice shot by Francis, (Dave Gore, Jassi Sangha) after Kitimat defenceman was held up in the end, allowing Johnston to liberate the puck and get in on Tommy Mildenberger.
Dave Gore increased the lead to two goals three minutes after that when Jassi Sangha won a footrace to the puck in the corner to a Francis Johnson clearance, beating the icing call and hooking the puck into the crease, Mildenberger got some of the shot, but could not keep it out.
The first period ended early after David Venman was injured in the board check by Francis Johnson. He left the ice under his own power after the stretcher was brought out but did not come back.
The Stampeders added a goal in the second, from Dylan Richardson (Dave DeBeer) and one in the third from Nathan Zurak (Stu Sasges, Brent McIsaac.)
The Stamps then trapped, flipped the puck out and played a solid defensive game as time ticked down. Kitimat had chances but nothing seemed to be working well, especially the power play, as the Stamps did take eight minors to Kitimat’s four.
It was a pretty clean, if hard-played game. Shots in the game were Ice Demons 30 and the Stampeder 32, but the Stampeders had the better scoring opportunities and were able to capitalize.
Game star aluminum pucks went to the Stamps’ Francis Johnson, who scored the winning goal and Kitimat defender Jeff Mildenberger who logged a lot of minutes in the tournament.