Terrace River Kings defeated the Whitehorse Huskies 6-3 in a strong, physical game last night.
In the first period it seemed like the Huskies were dominating with rough, physical play and lots of checks, but the River Kings found their momentum in the second period, and dominated the last half of the game.
Huskies earned an early goal just one minute into the game, scored by Derek Klassen.
But the River Kings tied it up 1-1, seven minutes later, with Tristan Murray picking up a pass from Jordan Peddle in front of the net and firing it past the goalie.
Terrace’s Josh Murray scored again at the end of the first to give the River Kings a 2-1 lead.
Both the River Kings and Huskies are strong, physical teams, and seemed quite well matched.
“They body check a lot and we had to match it. And we did,” said River Kings captain Steve Cullis of the physicality of the Huskies. “I thought we out played them near the end… once we got our legs going I thought we out played them for the rest of the night.”
“They have a lot of firepower, a lot of good offensive players,” said Cullis of the Huskies. “They came out and took it to us… at the start they out played us, we were lucky to get a couple of saves early in the game.”
Last night the River Kings played with goalie Jared Rathjen, who they picked up as a back up goalie and was confirmed last Saturday to play, said coach Rob Findlay.
Rathjen played minor hockey here in Terrace until age nine and then moved to Prince George and has been playing juniors down south. Devyn Ames is sitting out.
The River Kings started to gain real momentum in the second period.
They scored two goals nearly back to back only a few minutes into the second. Those were scored by Colten Braid and Cory Dekelver, earning the River Kings a 4-2 lead.
But the Huskies did not let up. Though the River Kings seemed to control the puck more, both teams fought with relentless energy throughout the end of the second and into the third period.
Five minutes into the third, Jordan Peddle and Chapen Leblond got the puck and came down the centre together. Peddle sliced the puck across to Leblond in front of the net, who fired it past the goalie.
That gave the River Kings a 5-2 lead.
Huskies managed to score another goal with seven minutes left on the clock, bringing the score to 5-3.
With just five minutes left, Huskies got a two minute power play, and launched a strong offensive assault, but the River Kings managed to hold them off.
Just as the Terrace penalty ended, the Huskies took a penalty, giving the River Kings a power play for two minutes, where they capitalized to earn their final goal with just two minutes left.
Jordan Peddle got the puck in the bottom right side, a sniped a beautiful slap shot across and into the net past the goalie.
That ended the game 6-3 for the River Kings.
Josh Murray won player of the game.
This puts Terrace and Fort St. John tied for first in the round robin so far. They have three points each, having won one game and tying each other on Tuesday. Whitehorse is next with two points, having beat Smithers but lost to Terrace. Smithers is last, having lost both their games so far.
But with the points so close, everything still hinges on today’s games.
“If they win tomorrow and we win tomorrow, it’s going to be down to goals scored against,” said Cullis of the teams who will advance.
“It will all be decided tomorrow night.”
Whitehorse plays Fort St. John at 4 p.m. and Terrace plays Smithers at 7 p.m.
The top ranked team from the round robin will get a bye into Saturday’s finals. The second and third ranked team will face off in the semi finals on Friday, March 25.