Terrace River Kings beat Whitehorse 7-6 in an intense roller coaster game last night, giving them a 1-1 record as they head into a determining match against North Island Capitals.
The River Kings came out fast and hard and claimed the lead for most of the game, but things exploded in the third period, with a series of back-and-forth goals.
In the last two minutes of the game, Whitehorse buried two goals back to back to make it a one-goal game, but the River Kings held tightly to their narrow lead and clinched a 7-6 win.
“I thought we had the run of play for a lot of the game,” said forward Tristan Murray. “We did our best to squander it in the end, but managed to hold on.”
The River Kings controlled the play for most of the early part of the game, and Murray says he felt they deserved the 4-2 lead that they secured by the end of the second.
Third period hit and “then things kind of went crazy,” said Murray.
“A whole bunch of goals got scored pretty fast. I don’t think either team would be too happy with how they played defence in that period.”
Whitehorse buried a goal 30 seconds in, but the River Kings responded with a breakaway goal from Colten Braid, putting the score at 5-3.
The same back-to-back goals came at 14 minutes, with Whitehorse scoring and the River Kings responding with a goal of their own.
Eight minutes later, Reinbolt scored again to put the River Kings up 7-4, but the period ended tense for the team as Whitehorse managed a near-comeback.
They scored two back-to-back goals in the last two minutes, making the score 7-6 with the River Kings barely clinging to their lead.
“It was a bit of a fire drill,” Murray said, acknowledging they felt a bit of a panic as they battled down Whitehorse momentum.
In those situations, “you need to weather the storm,” he said.
“We didn’t play our best at the end, didn’t close very well, but luckily Patrick Leal was in net and did a great job, doing enough to get us to win the game.”
Next up, the River Kings take on the North Island Capitals, who are currently at the bottom of the rankings with a 0-2 record.
Kelowna is at the top having won both games, and Whitehorse and Terrace are tied with a 1-1 record.
The top team will take a bye into the finals, and the second two teams will face off in semi-final match tomorrow, March 31.
Murray said anything can happen tonight, March 30, in these last determining games. If Terrace wins and Kelowna loses, Terrace still has a shot at the bye, but there’s also a slight possibility the boys could be eliminated.
Murray says the key with the Capitals will be discipline.
“They play pretty physical, so if we can stay disciplined, we might be able to draw a few penalties.
I think that will be a point of emphasis tonight,” he said.