THE Terrace River Kings were eliminated in the semi-final of the Coy Cup tournament last night. The Williams Lake Stampeders edged Terrace 4-3.
The Stamps carried the play much of the night, outshooting Terrace 36-28. Terrace goaltender Garrett Muir was outstanding in net, especially in the second period when he really kept his team in the game.
Terrace did not exactly make it easy on Muir, as they continued to get into penalty trouble. The Kings took 9 penalties in this game, but the Stamps would only convert on one power play. Not that they did not have their chances. Muir kept the shooters frustrated much of the night – including on a rare penalty shot.
The teams traded first period power play goals. Nathan Zurak, just 2 minutes into the game, opened the scoring for Williams Lake. Rajan Sangha replied for Terrace at the 14 minute mark, tying the game at one.
After dominating the second period, Williams Lake’s Tyler Fuller finally solved Muir late in the frame. It was an inevitable goal as the Stampeders really had the ice tilted in their favour in that period.
But Terrace simply would not go away. The River Kings impressed everyone this week with their heart and drive, and that continued in the third. Colby Ames was temporarily the unlikely hero, knotting the score at 2 just 3 minutes into the third.
The Stampeders Francis Johnson and Nathan Zurak struck for two goals in just 18 seconds, deflating the Kings. Dawson Leblond scored on a brilliant rush with just 2:33 left in the game, giving the team some late hope. But it was not meant to be. Williams Lake was the better team on this night, and deserving of the win.
Williams Lake will now play the Kitimat Ice Demons in the championship game tonight. The Demons, who earned a bye into the final thanks to a 1st place finish in the round robin, defeated the Stamps in both of their head-to-head matches this season. That includes a 6-2 victory earlier this week.
Puck drop is at 8pm, with tickets available at the Tamitik Arena. Terrace fans travelling to the game can pick up their tickets in advance at All Seasons Source for Sports.
Joe Pelletier is a hockey writer living in Terrace, B.C.
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