THE Terrace River Kings’ CIHL season came to a screeching halt on Saturday night. The Kitimat Ice Demons downed the River Kings by a score of 7-4. In doing so the Demons swept the best of 3 playoff series 2 games to 0.
The Kings dearly missed starting goalie Garrett Muir. Led by star defenseman Jeff Mildenberger and veteran forward Derek Delisser, Kitimat lit up Patrick Leal in net with 4 goals in the opening 10 minutes.
The River Kings were left clearly stunned.
The team pulled Leal in favour of Darren Beaulieu and the move seemed to settle down the Kings initially. However Kitimat still upped the score to 6-0 before the end of the first period.
Terrace played admirably in the second period before the game deteriorated into a penalty-filled affair that actually saw the referees end the second period early to let the teams cool off.
Thanks to many power plays Terrace made the score respectable in the third period, and even interesting once they made it 6-4.
Cam Kerr, Nick Homeniuk, Joey Cormano, and Derek Jurista scored for Terrace. Kitimat iced the game with an odd empty net power play goal against the desperate River Kings.
Muir, who should be named as the team’s Most Valuable Player this season, was one of seven regulars unavailable for the final game of the year.
That list includes veteran defensemen Josh Murray, Mark Dhami and Toby Mitchell, all injured for significant parts of the season. Kyle Holtom, Corbin Legros and Garrett Kerr also were unavailable for Saturday night’s game.
Such is life in the CIHL. It was a disappointing ending to an otherwise promising season. The River Kings provided local fans with an entertaining level of hockey during the National Hockey League lockout. The team showed some real progress that resulted in their emergence as an upper echelon CIHL team.
Many of the Kings core players are young enough that many could return next season. It will be interesting to watch this team evolve in the next couple of seasons.