River Kings gearing up to defend top rank

Terrace River Kings shot into first last weekend in the CIHL west division with a 5-3 win against Smithers Steelheads.

Liam Albright takes the puck up the ice in the game against Steelheads in Smithers last Saturday.

Terrace River Kings are gearing up for a busy weekend with two away games coming up, as they defend their first place ranking in the west CIHL division.

This follows a 5-3 win against Smithers Steelheads last weekend, which was their fourth win in a row and significant because Steelheads are their toughest opponents, and particularly strong team on their home ice.

“It was extra special to beat them in their home rink,” said coach Rob Findlay, adding that the rink is smaller changing the style of play, and all the strongest Steelhead players are there.

Chapen Leblond from the River Kings scored the first goal five minutes into the first period, but Steelheads tied it up 1-1 five minutes later.

The teams battled hard back and forth, but Steelheads managed a second goal two minutes from the end, wrapping up the first period at 2-1.

At ten minutes in the second, Chapen Leblond tied up the game 2-2 with a power play goal, but five minutes later, Steelheads scored, taking the lead again 3-2.

Findlay says the game changer was when a Steelhead went after LeBlond for a fight, head butting him and earning the Steelheads a seven minute penalty.

Ryan Reinbolt scored on that power play, ending the second period 3-3.

Dawson Leblond earned the River Kings the lead five minutes into the third period, and the teams fought a hard game until the end.

The Steelheads pulled their goalie for the last few minutes, and Tristan Murray finished the game with a final River King goal, ending the game 5-3.

“The boys played really well defensively, and Patti had a stellar game,” said coach Findlay.

“We had a short team… we were missing a couple of our key guys, but the guys are playing a good team game, putting in that extra effort, back checking hard and looking after our own end.”

This puts River Kings at the top of the west division in the CIHL, with Prince Rupert in second, Smithers third, and Kitimat forth.

This weekend the Kings will play two away games, first against Lac La Hache Saturday and then Williams Lake Sunday.