The Kitimat Ice Demons, despite a strong offensive performance that saw 44 shots directed at Garrett Muir in the Terrace River Kings net were stymied time and time again by the acrobatic goaltenders and his team used fewer chances at the other end to make the goaltender a 5-4 winner.
Both coaches complained of uneven refereeing, but there were no power pay goals in the game.
Demons held a one goal lead at the end of the first, as Ian Coleman beat Muir with a minute and a half remaining in the opening period, batting his own rebound behind the goalie, with assists to Derek Wakita and Ben Rumley, who had a three point night for his first game as an Ice Demon.
However their line-up had to be juggled all night as Derek DeLisser was handed a five minute cross checking penalty and a game misconduct for head contact, under two minutes into the game, on a suspect call by Terrace referee Tyler Noble that was argued vociferously at the Demons’ bench, but stood.
With a noisy 810 fans in attendance and a full beer garden the Ice Demons looked like they would dominate the game early, with good speed and 15 shots in the period compared to Kings’ 10.
Shots were the same 15-10, Demons’ advantage, in the second period but Terrace started to get some better opportunities and came on as they tied in game early in the second period when a bouncing clearance went to Steve Cullis on the right wing, who sent Rajan Sangha in alone on Demons’ goalie, Tommy Mildenberger and he popped the rubber into the net to give the Kings a brief 2-1 lead in the second period.
But the lead only lasted 13 seconds as newcomer for Kitimat, Ben Rumley, a former KMHA star, swept his first of two goals on the night behind Muir, to knot the game at 2-2. Muir had dropped a hard point shot from Jeff Baker, who earned the assist, along with Jeff Mildenberger.
Things began to unravel for the Ice Demons as Cameron Kerr emerged from a puck scrum behind the Kitimat net and tried a hail-Mary wraparound that ran up Mildenberger’s pad and dropped into the net to give Terrace a 3-2 lead at 7.08, a bit against the run of the play.
Again the Ice Demons got back on even terms quickly as Muir was again unable to keep the handle on a hard Jeff Baker shoot-in and Rumley was again Johnny-on-the-spot t push the back over the line for a 3-3 tie at the end of the second.
Calen Findlay got the tip of his stick on a shot from Jeremy Vandenbroek for a deflection that Mildenberger had no chance with and Terrace took the lead again at 2.01 of the third period and Brian Lomas made it 5-3 in and end to end game as he got off a hard shot the Mildenberger thought was in his equipment, but tipped in off his blocker at the 10 minute mark.
If the Ice Demons thought Garrett Muir had been frustrating them all night, he seemed inspired after the Lomas goal and the Demons launch an all-out attack. A Jonnie Aiken draw win to Dan Jerret at 1101 of the period, caught Muir but kept going into the net.
Demons seemed well on their way to a comeback but Muir stepped up his game as he made double stops several times, while Demons hurt their own cause by taking three late penalties to only one by Terrace. But Demons fans booed referee Noble as he he seemed to ignore repeated cross checks and slashes as time wound down.
At the final buzzer there was a bit of melee with Terrace players congratulating each other on the win, while others were chasing Demons’ players in the beer gardens corner. But the pushing and shoving was broken up and both teams lined up for the hand shake and went to their dressing rooms.
But no doubt the Demons felt they had let two points slip away while Garrett Muir earned a lot of the credit. T was Demons’ second loss after a long run of wins.
Demons next game is on home ice – again on a Friday night, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. when the Prince Rupert Rampage will be back in town hoping to repeat their win over the Demons two weeks ago in Rupert.