Terrace River Kings triumphed over Smithers Steelheads here in Terrace last Saturday with a strong 6-2 win.
That followed a 10-5 victory in Kitimat, tallying up to a four-game winning streak for the Kings.
In true River Kings’ style, the team launched into the CIHL season slowly, chalking up a few losses before finding their footing.
Coach Kevin Legros said he felt the team was really coming together and he was really proud of them.
“We’re starting to jell now,” he said. “It took a bit to get adjusted with the new players, but now that we’ve had a few games, they’re playing as a solid unit. It’s great.”
Legros said the work ethic was always there, it was just a matter of time.
“I knew we had all the tools, we just had to put it all together,” he said. “We’ve had four really solid games in a row… it’s starting to come together.”
With their recent wins, the River Kings climbed in the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) and stand tied for second with the Steelheads.
The team has won five games, lost two, and had two overtime losses, while the Steelheads’ record is 6-3-0, putting them both at 12 points.
In first place right now is Williams Lake, with eight wins, one loss.
In the home game last weekend, observers say the Steelheads were not on their best game, but the River Kings put on a strong show and Legros said they hit the ice with intensity Smithers failed to rival.
“The boys were pumped in the dressing room. They were ready to go at the drop of the puck,” said Legros.
Terrace’s Luke Gordon scored the first goal only three minutes into the game, and 10 minutes later Smithers tied it up.
In the second period, teams struggled to net anything in the early stretch, but in the last five minutes Terrace scored two nearly back to back. The first was landed by Colten Braid and the second by Luke Walker.
Smithers scored one more before the period ended, putting the score at 3-2 for Terrace.
The River Kings amped it up in the third, with Steve Cullis scoring just a minute in.
Luke Walker landed his second one after 10 minutes and Austin Legros scored five minutes later, topping off the win at 6-2.
Jared Rathjen was in net for the first time this season, and Legros said he did great, only allowing two.
He adds that it was great to have Chapen and Dawsen Leblond back on the roster. The two players have been on the team for many years, but decided not to sign up for the early part of the season. Now the brothers have decided to re-join the ranks.
But Legros said it was a team effort and he was pleased with every line.
“We played a full 60 minutes of hockey,” he said. “Our third and fourth line are playing outstanding. They’re playing really good, consistent hockey,” he said. “I’m pretty proud of them.”
The scores and names of all the different players scoring, speak for themselves, he said.
In the game against Kitimat, goals were scored by Greg Tuckerman, Robert Orrey, William Orrey, Tristan Murray, Corey Dekelver, Colten Braid, Kenny Nordstrom, Chapen Leblond, and two by Luke Walker.
Legros said new players are doing really well, a list that includes Travis Bannister, Darren Beaulieau, Tanner Braid, Robert Orrey, Erik Vandevelde, and Luke Walker.
Walker is such a strong player he is hardly considered a rookie, Legros said, adding that the others are also filling their roles well and contributing a lot to the team.
“I’m really proud of the rookies,” he said. “They know their roles and they’ve come a long ways.
“A lot of my rookies are fill ins, so I don’t play them all every game, but they are filling the roles nicely and they’re a great addition to the team this year.”
Finally, Legros said he is grateful to have assistant coach Derek Jurista helping out.
“He brings a lot of hockey knowledge and he’s been a great addition as an assistant coach,” Legros said.
The River Kings face off against the Prince Rupert Rampage in Terrace this Saturday, Dec 3, at 7 p.m.
That will be the last game on home ice this year and they play the Ice Demons in Kitimat Dec. 10.