The Kitimat Ice Demons split two weekend games on the road, Oct. 13 and 14.
They had a smooth-skating and convincing win over win over old nemesis Williams Lake Stampeders 5-2, on the strength of three power play goals and a hat trick performance by Brandon Wakita on Saturday.
And, for two periods it looked like as if the Demons could take another game in Quesnel Sunday, but a couple of late defensive lapses allowed the Kangaroos to come back for their first win of the season, 4-2, with three unanswered goals in the third period.
With two wins in their first three games, the Ice Demons sit first in the western division as the Smithers Steelheads survived a late rally by the Terrace River Kings to win 5-4, while the Prince Rupert Rampage had a tough road trip losing 9-5 in Lac La Hache to the Tomahawks and then 7-1, Sunday, as the Stampeders came alive.
Although Kitimat were missing some key players on the weekend, they got off to a flying start with two power play goals in the first – one by Brandon Wakita (Derek Wakita, Jeff Mildenberger) just under nine minutes into the game and Ian Coleman (Jeff Baker, Derek Wakita) five minutes later.
The power play struck for the third time as Brandon Wakita scored the second of his three on the night on a nice set up by Derek DeLisser just 2.06 into the second period. The Stampeders seemed to wake up at that point, seeing the game slip away and retaliated quickly with Nathan Zurak scoring just 47 seconds later, assisted by Matt Lees and Brent McIsaac.
The Stampeders seemed to be clawing back into the game with a second goal by Stu Sasges (Lees and McIsaac) but Derek DeLisser got that one back very early in the third (Josh Slanina, Kyle Madsen) and Tommy Mildenberger, playing his first game in goal for the Ice Demons, held the fort the rest of the way, stopping all 11 of the Stampeders shots in the period, while Brandon Wakita’s unassisted hat-trick goal at the 10.10 mark of the period beat Justin Foote to restore the Ice Demons three goal lead and suck the fight out of the Stampeders.
On Sunday, with the Quesnel Kangaroos itching from a tight shoot out loss that involved eight shooters from both sides, before C. Kilbreath broke the tie for the 5-4 win, the Ice Demons had a solid start and led 1-0 at the end of the first as Brandon Wakita (Ian Coleman, Nick Markowski) kept up his torrid scoring pace.
This was a rough game, with lots going on behind the scenes, but few calls (only 16 minutes in penalties, four minors to each team, but the visitors still held the lead at the end of the second period with Curtis Gassoff (Justin Fulton, Braydon Penner) tying the game at 1-1, at the 3.34 mark of the second, before Derek Wakita responded (Jeff Mildenberger, Scott McGregor) three minutes later to restore the one goal advantage.
But the Demons wilted under pressure in the third period as goals by Levon Johnson (Justin Fulton) pulled the Kangaroos level, at 8.31 and the visitors had no answer for an eighth minute goal by Brolin McGowan (Joel Boyetchko, Dominic Tomassetti) and another at the 16.37 mark of the third by Devon Whalen, also assisted by Boyetchko and Tomasetti.
Ice Demons had Tyson Craven in net in Quesnel. Craven stopped 24 of 28 Kangaroos’ shots, while Ryan Manderson, held the fort in the third period, stopping all Demons shots in the third. Demons had a total 24 shots in the game.
For other Saturday-Sunday scores, see scoreboard entries on Pointstreak.
The Ice Demons are back in action in a Friday night fixture at Tamitik Arena, playing the Terrace River Kings, with warm-up at 7.30 p.m. And face-off at 8.00 p.m.