The Terrace River Kings are undefeated three games in to the 2014/2015 CIHL season, beating both the Kitimat Ice Demons and the returning champions Smithers’ Steelheads over opening weekend and then the Prince Rupert Rampage this past Saturday at the Terrace Sportsplex.
The Kings took over Kitimat’s home opener at the Tamitik arena Oct. 3, winning 5-1. With shots 35 for the Kings and 31 for the Demons, River Kings goalie Patrick Leal made the difference.
Terrace’s Tristan Murray opened up scoring at 15:13 in the first, with Kitimat tying it up shortly into the second. But River King William Orrey quickly took back the lead, and goals by Kings Lee Muir, Chapen Leblond, and assistant captain Josh Murray continued to widen the gap until play was over. Penalty minutes were 15 for the Kings and 26 for Kitimat.
Friday night’s game proved to be just a warm up for Saturday’s home opener at the Terrace Sportsplex against the Steelheads that saw Terrace win 9-4 to extend their early season winning streak to two.
Terrace Captain Steve Cullis was first on the scoreboard just 44 seconds into the game against a shorthanded Smithers roster – about a dozen guys to the Kings’ full bench.
Ben Reinbolt and Luke Gordon made it 3-0 Kings halfway through the first, with the Steelheads making it 3-1 by the end of the period.
Terrace goals by Rajan Sangha, Orrey, and a second by Reinbolt followed in the second, with Corey Dekelber, a second by Orrey, and Derick Jurista clocking in the final three during the third.
Shots were dominated by Terrace – 57 to the Steelheads’ 32. And so were penalty minutes – 56 minutes to the Steelheads’ 28, with two of Smithers four goals taking place on the powerplay.
And they continued their win streak with a 6-4 win against the Prince Rupert Rampage Oct. 11 at the Terrace Sportsplex that saw them outshoot the Rampage 49-28.
The win put them at the top of the western division. The Williams Lake Stampeders are also undefeated and on top of their division.
Terrace took an early lead against the Rampage, up 3-0 after the first period with goals from captain Steve Cullis (assists to Josh Murray and Lee Muir), Corbin Legros on the power play (assists to Muir and Cullis) and Cullis again, this time on the power play (assists to Ben Reinbolt and Murray).
The first period saw the only fight of the game, a scrap between Jordan Aubee and Calen Findlay.
“We ran into some penalty trouble and Terrace was able to capitalize with four power-play goals. If we had limited the number of powerplays by one or two it could have been a different outcome,” said Prince Rupert defenceman Derek Baker speaking to the Prince Rupert Northern View on Sunday.
Prince Rupert captain Jared Meers (assists to Tyler Bates, Kory Movald) scored early in the second to briefly tighten the gap, but a powerplay goal by Terrace’s Reinbolt (assists to Corbin Legros, Cullis) 11 minutes in had the River Kings sitting at 4-1 going into the third.
The Rampage came out determined in the third, with a goal by Movald (assists to Greg Sheppard, Tyler Bates) 2:39 in that was matched less than a minute later by Terrace’s Derek Jurista (assists to Nick Homeniuk, Chapen LeBlond). But two goals by Craig Munro (assists to Jared David, John Hunt, Jordan Weir, Sheppard), one on the powerplay, had the Rampage with the River Kings in their sights.
But an empty net goal by Cullis sealed the game for the River Kings, who can boast starting the year 3-0 for the first time since the CIHL started keeping track of the games in 2009.
The River Kings next home game is Halloween night against the Kitimat Ice Demons. They are in Smithers this Saturday to face off against the Steelheads – and try to keep the momentum going.
With files from Kevin Campbell, Prince Rupert Northern View