Demons squander chances in shoot-out losses

The Kitimat Ice Demons played two poor second periods over the November 5-6 weekend...

The Kitimat Ice Demons played two poor second periods over the November 5-6 weekend, allowing the opposition Terrace River Kings and the Quesnel Kangaroos to carve into leads picked up in strong first periods – but resulting eventually in two shoot-out wins for the visitors – and the loss of two valuable points in the CIHL standings.

On Saturday night it was the River Kings who managed to come back from a 3-2 score late in the game, to tie and then score twice in the shootout to win.

Sunday, the Ice Demons needed a late goal to knot the game at 3-3, only to see a single goal from Quesnel shooter Joel Boyetchko be enough to take the extra point as keeper Ryan Manderson kept out all three Demons’ shooters.

Kitimat, still short of three regular defensemen,  really let the Saturday game slip away after a powerful and controlling first period.  Patrick Leal had a great effort in net for the River Kings and seemed to get stronger and inspire Terrace as the second and third progressed.

For the Demons, it was another game with too many shots missing the net, especially on power plays in the last two minutes of the first period,  and in the starting minutes of the third, when the game could have been put away comfortably.

Demons held a 2-0 lead at the end of the first on goals by Ian Buick (Jeff Mildenberger) and Josh Marsh), a cannon that Leal did not get much chance on. Buick’s hard point drive seemed to deflect slightly into the gap between Leal and the left post.

Jordan Goncalves and Justin Bogeart did the grunt work to get Marsh in alone and were rewarded with assists

However, Terrace came out hard early in the second and the push got them an early goal from Tristan Murray (Josh Murray, Garret Kerr) with just six minutes gone in the second.

But the two goal lead was restored four minutes later with a short-handed, unassisted wrap-around by Jacob Perreira. With Justin Bogaert in the box for holding, Perreira’s aggressive forecheck in the corner liberated the puck and he came round the back of the net to catch Leal out of position moving to cover.

But Terrace kept clawing and got a fortuitous break-through with just 58 seconds left in the second when Rich Clair got one behind Moran (Skyler Andrews, Garrett Kerr) to make it 3-2 going to the third.

Demons came back hard early in the third and Leal and the Terrace defense saw a lot of rubber bouncing and flying around the crease.

But it was the Kings that got pulled back into the game with a tying goal at 6.15 of the third by Derek Jurista (Calen and Joel Findlay).

A fight in the third saw Jonnie Aiken and Cameron Kerr ejected, with Aiken getting a poor choice instigator penalty thrown in, as the referee was out of position to see what took place.

But it didn’t cost the Demons as the defense dug down and the end-to-end exciting play saw the two teams scrum it out with both goaltenders making some difficult stops that could have turned the game.

Penalties in the game were to Demons 10 minors and  to Terrace six minors, but Perreira’s shorthanded goal was the only special teams success.

This game then went to a shoot-out with Jacob Perreira and Steve Cullis the only scorers of the first three pairs on each side before Jeremy Vandenbroek ended the shootout with a nice play on Moran, just after Leal made a hot five-hole stop on Wade Masch.

The crowd of 600 stayed until the bitter end and enjoyed an exciting game, with a disappointing conclusion.

On Sunday, with the Quesnel Kangaroos having lost their undefeated status in a shootout won by Brett Stava of the Prince Rupert Rampage, the new ‘Roos team was looking for a road win in Kitimat, to get back on track.

About 400 Kitimat fans included a contingent of seniors from Delta King Place and Kiwanis Village,  who enjoyed the games as Ice Demons guests.

The Ice Demons and the Quesnel Kangaroos went at it with a vengeance in Tamitik throughout the afternoon with another goaltender demonstration put on by Brandon Highton and Ryan Manderson, in net for the visitors.

But, as they did on Saturday night, Kitimat was unable to hold on to their first period 1-0 lead – a power play goal by Jeff Mildenberger (Ian Coleman, Derek Wakita) – with Harley Gilks (Waylon L’Heureux, Shawn Fulton) connecting just two minutes into the second period to tie the game at 1-1.

An early Quesnel push then allowed them to take the lead five minutes later on an egregious defensive give-away behind the Demons’ net that resulted in a pass out by Chris Jensen to Rigby Burghart, who had a lot of net to shoot at.

Just when it looked like Quesnel would take that 2-1 lead into the second intermission, Ian Coleman slapped home a hard pass from Jeff Mildenberger with just 47 seconds left in the frame on a nice wheeling play, again on the power play, with Shawn Fulton and Waylon L’Heureux in the box, along with Blaine Markwart for Kitimat after some roughing in the Quesnel zone.

Quesnel took a lead again on a second goal by Burghart about five minutes into the third which was negated by Ian Coleman’s second goal of the game, (Derek Wakita, Terry Whelan) at the 17.18 mark – not too long after Terry Whelan thought he had one in the net but the ref, a long way away, said it hit the post.

There was lots of debate about this one off the ice, but on the ice it didn’t count.

Demons were guilty both nights of playing a lacklustre period in the second when pucks were bouncing everywhere and giveaways were plentiful, and it was a good thing that Highton was on his game.

Demons shooters had numerous chances, but Manderson and his blocking defense showed Quesnel was worthy of leading the league as a new entry.

There was lots of hooking, interference and slashing behind the play that had the crowd buzzing, but the officials seemed reasonably oblivious most of the time, handing Quesnel seven minors and Kitimat only six.

But fans could see why Quesnel has its near 200 minutes in the box, employing the strategy of hook and slash all the time on the basis that they won’t call ’em all.

So it was that the two teams took this grinder to a shootout – for both teams, the second in two nights.

Quesnel’s second shooter, Joel Boyetchko got his deke, a slider, under Highton while Rigby Burghart and Justin Fulton were stopped.

For the Demons, Terry Whelan went too high, Jeremy Brady saw his shot go off the post and Ian Coleman put the puck in Manderson’s glove.

For the Demons the weekend resulted in an unsatisfying two points the losing hard way, while the River Kings picked up two and the ‘Roos three points on the road.

For the Demons, two shoot-out losses irked the players – the two games presented the Ice Demons with a multitude of opportunities – but too many were squandered.