The Kitimat Ice Demons, playing some of their best skating and passing hockey of the season twice defeated the East Division Burns Lake Braves by identical scores of 7-4 January 15-16.
But Kitimat could not make any headway on the Prince Rupert Rampage which held on to first place in the West Division with two home ice victories over the Houston Luckies.
With Terrace taking two expected victories over the Hazelton Wolverines, the weekend results set the positions for the playoffs.
The Ice Demons, with home ice advantage, travelled to Terrace this past Saturday for the first game of the best-of three quarter finals, with the second and third games (if necessary) scheduled for Tamitik Arena this coming Saturday and Sunday.
In the games against Burns Lake, the Braves had battled through a vicious blizzard by bus, to take the ice Saturday – but ran into another type of blizzard, shots, that drove starting goaltender Wes Hart, to the bench at the end of the second period, after the Kitimat held leads of 4-1 and 6-2 respectively in the first and second periods.
He was replaced by backup, David Little, who held the Ice Demons to one goal in the final period.
Jamie Moran played the game in goal for Kitimat and was stingy, arguing twice without success that goals for the Braves had been kicked in during scrums in the crease.
On Saturday Kitimat gave Burns Lake little opportunity to shake off bus legs after the long trip, firing13 shots at Hart in the first period resulting in goals from Brandon Wakita (Jeremy Brady, Nick Markowsky), Craig Hewitson (Ian Coleman, Blaine Markwart), David Venman (Wade Masch, Derek Wakita) and Blaine Markwart (David Venman, Wade Masch). The Braves answered with a goal by Shane Walsh (Justin Weber, Josh Weber).
In the second the Demons turned up the heat with 16 shots, adding two goals by Derek Wakita (Dave Venman, Terry Whelan) and Blaine Markwart, (Craig Hewitson, Ian Coleman).
Burns Lake answered with an unassisted goal by Justin Weber as the Braves got off12 shots at Moran.
The Ice Demons added a goal by Jeff Mildenberger (unassisted) just 18 seconds after the Braves got back to 6-4 on a goal by Shane Walsh, again assisted by Josh and Justin Weber.
There were two fights in the game between Adam Buick and Braves Daniel McQueen and by Kitimat fireplug Nick Markowsky and Braves’ Jordaine Weber.
Sunday’s game was very similar as the Demons controlled play throughout, leading 3-2 after one period on goals by Brandon Wakita (Derek Wakita, Adam Buick), Ian Coleman (Nick Markowsky, Dave Venman) and Jon Aiken (Josh Slanina, Dave Venman).
Scoring for the Braves was Steve Wiletjo, with two, the first assisted by Jarrett Anderson and the second by his brother, Dave Wilejto.
In the second period the Demons really pelted Wes Hart, getting goals from Jon Aiken (Ian Coleman, Dave Venman) and then Venman scored, assisted by Jeff Mildenberger and Nick Markowski.
Dan McQueen scored unassisted for the Braves. Demons added two in the third period from Ian Coleman (Josh Slanina and Nick Markowsky) and Dave Venman (Josh Slanina and Derek Wakita. Braves got a consolation goal from Shane Walsh (Steve Wilejto , Darcy Ross).