River Kings notch first win in Coy Cup tournament

Terrace team defeats Quesnel Kangaroos 8-1 at game in Kitimat

THE Terrace River Kings opened the 2013 Coy Cup tournament with an 8-1 thumping of the Quesnel Kangaroos on Tuesday in Kitimat.

Team captain Steve Cullis and Joey Cormano both scored twice. Lee Muir, Rajan Sangha, Derek Jurista and Tristan Murray also scored for Terrace. Waylon L’Heureux scored the only goal for Quesnel.

Starting goaltender Garrett Muir was named as Terrace’s player of the game, though his teammates did a wonderful job in keeping the chances against to the outside and to a minimum.

Both teams exhibited some rust early in the game, as neither team has played in several weeks due to their respective elimination from the CIHL playoffs. Quesnel looked especially flat and became increasingly undisciplined as the game wore on, allowing Terrace plenty of power play time. Terrace wisely stayed away from the unnecessary retaliations. The power play showed good zone control and finish, particularly on Sangha’s beautiful tic-tac-toe goal to make the score 3-1 in the second period.

The River Kings were reinforced with some additions to their roster that allowed coach Roger Tooms to ice arguably his strongest line-up all season.

Star Josh Murray returned for his first game in months following a scary neck injury. He played with great zest and was very involved right from the start. Tooms wisely rode Murray’s enthusiasm by double shifting him in the first period.

The River Kings had the luxury of returning Murray to the forward ranks after experimenting with him on the depleted blueline earlier this season. The Kings brought Lee Muir, who is just a wonderful skater with a great head for the game, and Kyle Leblond, who was an exuberant force in the game against Quesnel. Dawson Leblond also is a relatively new addition to the blue line, and is a combination of the other two.

The bolstered blue line also allowed veteran Rich Clair to move up front. Clair had played admirably on the blue line this season and continued to do so up front. The reinforcements allowed for strong, balanced lines up front and great mobility on the defense.

It was pretty hard to find much fault with Terrace’s game last night. They will need to maintain this high level of play as they meet the CIHL finalists Williams Lake Stampeders tonight at 5pm. The Stamps will be looking to avenger their 6-2 loss to Kitimat in Tuesday’s other game.

Tickets are $10 and are available at the door at Tamitik Arena. You can also get your tickets in advance in Terrace at All Season’s Source for Sports.

Joe Pelletier is a hockey writer living in Terrace. You can read his work at http://www.greatesthockeylegends.com and on Twitter @HockeyLegends.