The Kitimat Ice Demons and Prince Rupert Rampage picked up two points each – but with no satisfaction – as the Ice Demons’ November 26 game in Tamitik and the Rampage’s November 27 home ice tilt were both defaulted by the Hazelton Wolverines who said they were unable to ice a team for the games due to players’ being unavailable.
(Several Hazelton players work in mining and lumber camps in various parts of the north.)
Wolverines assistant GM Randy Russell said the team was only able to assemble a list of 11 players and opted to default the games.
Demons coaches and management discussed the possibility of re-scheduling the game, but felt that there was no confirmation that Hazelton could commit to a re-scheduled game.
Ice Demons have a 28-day clause to cancel reserved ice in its contract with the city. The team was not prepared to risk having to pay twice for cancelled games … but will continue discussions with CIHL executive about the increasing frequency of defaulted games and the subsequent losses of gate income.
As a result of the default Kitimat is now leading the West Division with 18 points from 13 games, a distance ahead of Prince Rupert, which defeated Terrace 5-2 on home ice Saturday night to leap-frog over the River Kings into second place in the division with nine points from 12 games, one more than Terrace which has two games in hand.
Demons are third overall in the league, two points behind the Kangaroos from Quesnel and old rivals Smithers Steelheads, both with 20 points.
However, Smithers continues to lead the CIHL standings with 20 points from just 10 games. They are numerically tied with the Quesnel Kangaroos, but the Roos, which got back to winning from with a 7-4 road win against the Omenica Ice to reach 20 points, have played three more games than the Steelheads.
The Steelheads have only played three road games, so a lot of their remaining schedule will be spent traveling – but with two games against the stuttering Wolverines, two on the road and one at home against the Houston Luckies, one in Terrace and crossover games against Lac La Hache and the Williams Lake Stampeders, the Steelheads are about 60-40 to be able to finish the regular season without a loss. Not easy, but possible.
The Williams Lake Stampeders with two wins, a narrow road win 1-0 over a resistant Houston Luckies team, which was unable to score, a chronic problem for the team this season, with only 34 goals for in nine games, just a goal over 50 per cent of Smithers scoring.
But the Luckies remain in second place in the Central Division with 10 points.
The Stampeders turned on the scoring jets Sunday. however. when they overan the Omenica Ice 12 – 5 in the second game of their weekend road trip.
The Ice Demons are idle again next weekend – but will have a home game at Tamitik on Saturday December 10, hosting the Prince Rupert Rampage, and on the 16 they will travel to Terrace to take on the River Kings in a Friday night game.
On Saturday, December 17, the Demons will host the Prince Rupert Rampage again in the last home game of the regular season.
The team will still have two January road games, Friday January 6 in Terrace and Saturday, January 14 in Prince Rupert.