Ice Demons repel gutsy Rampage

The Kitimat Ice Demons tucked away two points to

consolidate and clinch first place in the CIHL West Division

The Kitimat Ice Demons tucked away two points to

consolidate and clinch first place in the CIHL West Division,

with 20 points, after defeating the Prince Rupert

Rampage 7-5 on December 10 at Tamitik.

It looked much easier than it was as the Ice Demons

let 4-1 and 6-3 leads slip away as a feisty, shorthanded

Rampage team kept pushing back and closing

the lead. It took a clever empty

net goal, a hat trick goal for

centre man Josh Slanina, to

add insurance to the 6-5 lead

the Demons were protecting

after Rupert’s Jared Meers,

with his own hat trick goal,

pulled the Rampage within

a goal.

But with the Rampage

goaltender Tremain Kurka

on the bench and visitors

applying pressure with six

attackers, Kitimat defence

stalwart Jeff Mildenberger

lofted a sweet pass just

ahead of Slanina entering

the Rupert zone and Slanina

made no mistake, guiding

the puck carefully into the

empty net.

Prince Rupert and Kitimat

were both missing key

players, but the Rampage

had only 13 skaters and two

goaltenders, while the Demons

were able to fi ll in

with some younger players

and rolled four lines to wear

the Rampage out with their

skating in the big arena.

It was working well, but

the Rampage, despite being

behind, always seemed

able to apply a little extra

forecheck pressure to the

defence and achieve some

success around the net and

wouldn’t go away.

It was a cleanly played

game with only four minor

penalties assessed to the

Rampage and six to the Ice

Demons. There were three

power play goals, one for

the Rampage in the fi rst

period and two for the Demons,

one each in the fi rst

and second periods.

The opening and only

goal of the fi rst was scored

by Steve Venman, who

simply redirected a spoton

pass from Chris Vilness

in the corner with just fi ve

minutes gone in the game.

A second assist went to

Derek Wakita.

Five minutes into the

second Josh Slanina got his

fi rst of three with a hot snap

shot to the top right corner,

which became a favourite

target for the Demons the

rest of the night. Jon Aiken

and Scott McGregor assisted.

Not to be outdone,

Rampage’s Jared Meers

got the fi rst of his hat trick

seven minutes later, as the

Rampage pressed back to

stop the fl ow of play by the

Demons.

Slanina responded with

his second goal of the game

after Doug Wilson carried

the puck unmolested into

the Rupert zone and passed

to Slanina who repeated his

fi rst shot to the top right

corner over the goaltender’s

shoulder.

Moments later Chris

Vilness saw his shot to the

same spot glance off the

glove and miss by an inch.

A minute after that

Nick Markowski scored a

slick goal coming off the

half boards and sliding a

hard wrist shot along the

ice into the net after taking

a nice relay from Ian Coleman

and Chris Vilness.

And a minute later a

turnover goal by Derek

Baker (Ryan Stace-Smith,

Jacob Sanburtano) gave the

Rampage an extra lift and

 

they pressed for a 4-3 goal and got it from Meers,with his second (Bryan Tates.)

This forced the Demons back on the return offensive and Wade Masch went through the defence to restore a two goal lead, with assists from Ian Coleman and David Venman.

Chris Vilness. with 1.15 left in the period. came in alone on Kurka and went to his stick side to beat him cleanly (Derek Wakita, Jeff Mildenberger, to make the score 6-3 at the intermission.

While the Demons continued to dominate on the offence, the Rampage got its act together on the forecheck to reduce that lead on goals by Bryan Tates (Jean Luc Fournier, Justin Fontaine) and Meers’ hat-trick goal to make it 6-5 with just four minutes remaining.

Mildenberger’s late pass to Slanina gave him his first hat trick as a Demon, and even into an empty net, he’ll take it to seal the two point win.

In other games December 10 the Smithers Steelheads maintained the league lead with 24 points with a 9-1 thrashing of the Hazelton Wolverines – and retained its undefeated position.

In the East Division the Williams Lake Stampeders beat the Quesnel Kangaroos 3-2 in Quesnel and the Omineca Ice was on top of the Lac La Hache Tomahawks by a score of 11-2.

The following day the Tomahawks took a drubbing again, 13-6, at the hands of Quesnel.

 

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