The Terrace River Kings seized a thrilling 4-3 victory on Saturday, claiming the playoff banner on top of the regular season banner for the first year ever.
Now gearing up for the Coy Cup in Williams Lake on March 27-31, the boys will face the best of the senior men’s AA teams in B.C. for the fourth year in a row.
They’ve earned three silver medals in the Coy Cup, 2014, 2015, 2016, and took bronze last year, 2017.
General manager Ross Smith says they’re really hoping to top off the season with a Coy Cup victory.
“I’m tired of getting silver. We get a silver medal now and we just throw it in the garbage,” he joked.
Playoffs are still ongoing in the Island/Kelowna region, and so far in the Coy Cup it’s Dawson Creek, the River Kings and Williams Lake.
That will mean a re-match with the Stampeders, who only narrowly lost both playoff games these last two weekends, with a 5-4 overtime game won by the River Kings Feb. 10.
Last Saturday in Terrace, the Stampeders took an early 2-0 lead in the first period.
But Luke Gordon and Ryan Roseboom both scored in the second period to tie up the game 2-2.
Both teams chalked up one more goal, with the Terrace one scored in the first minute of the third by Ben Reinbolt, making it 3-3 for most of the final period.
Then, with only one minute left, Luke Gordon took the puck and buried it in the back of the net to snatch a 4-3 lead and earn the victory for the River Kings.
Team captain Steve Cullis was injured on the ice in the second period, left laying still on the ice for quite a few minutes while waiting on an ambulance to arrive.
Smith says it was not as serious as it may have appeared, but was a knee injury that will likely put Cullis out of the game for season’s final Coy Cup.
This is the first year that the River Kings have won both the regular season and the playoffs in the same year, says Ross.
It’s also an upstanding season for a number of individual River Kings players.
Goalie Patrick Leal earned playoff MVP and River Kings’ forward Ben Reinbolt earned overall MVP in the league.
Both players also won mention for top stats in their position, with Patty named top goalie and Reinbolt top scorer in the CIHL season.