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Kangaroos win Coy Cup on Quesnel home ice

Terrace River Kings place second in April 1 final

The Quesnel Kangaroos are the 2023 Coy Cup champions.

They won the championship on home ice against their Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) rivals the Terrace River Kings, in front of a sold-out West Fraser Centre audience. Four of the six Marsh brothers, members of many Kangaroos teams of the past, including Coy Cup winners, were in attendance in vintage Roos jerseys and commented that never before had the Kangaroos franchise played in front of a crowd so large.

Those fans didn’t get to cheer first. Terrace took the early 1-0 lead but there was no sense of panic in the room either from the team or the fans. It was Alessio Tomassetti, the team’s captain and significant off-ice contributor, who lit the lamp first for the Roos, bringing the capacity crowd to its feet. Tomassetti wasn’t done. Just to show the Roos were sticking to their game-plan, he potted another only a few minutes later to make it 2-1 for the hometown team.

It was 4-1 by the end of the first period and then came the slowest turning point in Kangaroos history: the entire second period. Each team added a goal, but it killed the best part of the clock. Yes, it was technically possible for the River Kings - who had proven themselves talented and tenacious all season long, and especially in the CIHL playoffs - to mount a comeback, but there wasn’t much time left and the hole was deep.

It got deeper. The Kangaroos played a neutral zone trap system to clog any attack formations, and let their true strong suit - defence - eat away at Terrace’s diminishing time. Even when Quesnel scored to make the score 6-2, there was still an atmosphere of optimistic tension. Fans were excited at what felt like it was about to happen - winning the trophy right before their eyes - but everyone knew legendary comebacks were possible in hockey.

It was when Paul Girodat scored the Roos’ seventh goal that the crowd let their guard down and just enjoyed the rest of this momentous moment. Everyone in the room needed that goal, as the seal of the game’s fate.

Terrace was a team out of opportunities, at that point. Flashes of passion were still common, from the River Kings side, but the inevitability was palpable. When Quesnel added two more late ones, to make the final score 9-2, it just added depth to the delight of the fans. When the final buzzer sounded, it was utter joy. The team’s years of trying, building, rebuilding, and jockeying for provincial position paid off on their home ice, and the Coy Cup was theirs.

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Frank Peebles

About the Author: Frank Peebles

I started my career with Black Press Media fresh out of BCIT in 1994, as part of the startup of the Prince George Free Press, then editor of the Lakes District News.
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