Although the Terrace River Kings lost 2-6 to the Quesnel Kangaroos in game one of the Central Interior Hockey League (CIHL) playoff finals on Feb. 23, it isn’t over yet.
This upcoming Saturday on Mar. 2, the River Kings will duel on the rink against the Roos again in game two with hope that they can bring the league trophy back to Terrace again.
“I think [the team is] excited. Anytime there’s a chance to win a trophy, it’s always fun,” says Steve Cullis, team captain of the Terrace River Kings. “We just need to win the next two game… and the playoffs will be done.”
If the River Kings win their away game on Saturday, they’ll be tied against the Roos and will proceed to a final game on the Sunday.
But things are different this year due to a few factors. Generally, the winner of the game would then go on to play in the Coy Cup tournament, which will be hosted in Fort St. John from Mar. 26 – 30.
Due to a conflict in time commitment, extra travel costs and support, the River Kings have chosen not to put their name as candidates for the tournament — meaning that even if they claim victory in the league, they would then pass on their opportunity to play to the next runner-up team.
Nevertheless, Cullis says that their team is still keen on the winning title.
After beating out the Prince Rupert Rampages from the playoffs the weekend before, Cullis says that their first game against the Quesnel Kangaroos had a couple of errors that led to their loss.
“Through the first period, there were a few mistakes and they capitalized on that and were up four-nothing. I felt that in the second period, we played much better and had most of the control but [overall], we just couldn’t score as many as we’d like,” says Cullis.
The River Kings managed to only score one goal in this first period as the Roos quickly tallied up their points to four.
“We thought we had a pretty good chance as soon as we scored our first one and we kind of got some life,” Cullis says. “They then went back right away and scored at the end.”
The second period was played hard but they were opposed by the Roos taking another in another two shots. The Terrace team were able to score a goal in the final three minutes of the game, but it wasn’t enough to even out with their competition.
Cullis says that they were short on a few players in game one due to injuries from the last game. For this upcoming away game, their injured players are expected to be back on the ice.
“Some of those guys that we were missing last week should be coming with us to Quesnel, so that should give us a bit of a boost and we’re just going to give our best effort to try to win the trophy.”
With many younger players that have joined the River Kings this season, Cullis says that he’s happy to see them eager to play and that they’ve leveled up at the right time. Despite losing a few games at the start of the season as the new members were still sharpening up their skates, they’ve proven themselves by having a recent five-game winning streak and making it to the finals.
The Terrace River Kings will play game two of the CIHL finals against the Quesnel Kangaroos in Quesnel on March 2. If they win, game three will be held March 3.