The Terrace River Kings triumphed last Saturday to earn the regular season victory in the Central Interior Hockey League.
It’s the first time ever the team has won the regular season, with the team narrowly taking third last year after a three-way points tie with Williams Lake and Smithers.
But last weekend, after conquering the Kitimat Ice Demons 15-2 in front of a home crowd, the boys piled onto the ice for a photo and congratulations. But with the blowout match against the team who has won only three games this year, the thrill of the victory lacked some of its lustre.
“We were way over matched for them, it seemed like they didn’t even want to be there, said coach Derek Jurista after the weekend.
“Those are the kinds of games you hardly want to be part of. It’s not fun. It’s fun to score a lot of goals, but you’re really not working on things.”
That said, the boys did play well, hammering out goals and keeping tight possession most of the game.
“We cycled the puck well,” said Jurista. “And we were flying. We were skating pretty good.”
The River Kings led 3-0 after the first period, and though the Ice Demons scored one in the second, the River Kings landed four more to make it 7-1 going into the third.
Kitimat player Joel Findlay picked a fight with Cory Dekelver and both were kicked out, though Dekelver didn’t fight back or drop his gloves.
Third period was a real blowout. Ben Reinbolt scored a hat trick plus one, and other River Kings landed four more, including a beautiful top-corner snipe by Austin Legros.
Kitimat scored one at the end and had a second player kicked out for game misconduct near the end. The game ended 15-2.
Though the River Kings still have one more game in the regular season — facing the Rampage in Prince Rupert next Saturday — their win sealed their score at the top of the regular season.
The River Kings have a total of 22 points in the season, with 10 wins, three losses, one tie, and one overtime loss. In second place, too far behind to catch up, is Williams Lake, which had 17 points and one game left to play as of last weekend.
With five teams in the league, playoffs will have two rounds with Terrace, Prince Rupert, Williams Lake and Quesnel competing.
The playoff schedule is yet to be released and the key of the final regular season game in Prince Rupert will be individual player standings. A few players are in the running for awards, with Ben Reinbolt the third top scorer before his four-goal game last Saturday. He had 24 points, 14 goals and 10 assists, trailing Quesnel players Alessio Tomassetti (at 28 points, 11 goals, 17 assists) and Justin Fulton (25 points, eight goals, 17 assists).
Patti Leal was the second place top goalie before the weekend, with a save percentage of 0.898. Just above him was Prince Rupert goalie David Wood with half the games but a save percentage of 0.909.