The Terrace River Kings are on to the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) semifinals after beating Hazelton in a best of three series last weekend, setting up a tantalizing matchup versus the Prince Rupert Rampage.
Terrace’s high octane offence was on display to start the playoff campaign, scoring 21 goals over the three games. The Hazelton Wolverines could not contain forward Connor Onstein, who’s six goals and 11 points is easily the best in the CIHL playoffs after one round.
The series started in Hazelton on Feb. 18, where the Wolverines pulled off a surprise 6-5 win in overtime. Onstein recorded the first two goals in the game and the eventual hat trick. The River Kings held the lead in but conceded the equalizing goal at 14:08 in the third period and R. Green won it in overtime for the underdog Wolverines.
In game two, the River Kings fired a whopping 69 shots on the Hazelton goal on route to a 7-4 victory, levelling the series at one game apiece. The teams entered the third period tied 3-3 before a four goal outburst put the River Kings out of reach. Onstein stayed hot, scoring two goals and adding two assists.
The deciding game of the series was not much of a contest, as the River Kings treated their fans to a comfortable 9-2 win on Feb. 20 at the Sportsplex. Five of those goals came in the first period and the River Kings piled on even more shots, ending the game with 78.
Terrace’s round one victory sets up a compelling semifinal against the Prince Rupert Rampage. The North Coast team needed overtime to get past the Kitimat Ice Demons in game three of a tight, low scoring first round series.
The River Kings beat the Rampage in two out of three regular season games, with one tie. Prince Rupert took Terrace to overtime once and lost by just one goal in the third game.
As regular season champions, the River Kings will have home ice advantage. The teams will square off in Prince Rupert on Mar. 4. Terrace will host game two and game three if needed on Mar. 5 and Mar. 6.
Elsewhere in the CIHL, the Williams Lake Stampeders only needed two games to get past league newcomers Nechako Northstars. Williams Lake won game one 3-2 in overtime and ended the series with a 6-2 win on Feb. 19. They will face the Quesnel Kangaroos in the next round.