The Terrace River Kings face off for their final season game against the Kitimat Ice Demons tomorrow, Jan. 16, in Kitimat.
The games this weekend will determine the season standings, and playoffs are expected to start the last weekend of January.
With a 10-3-2 game record, the River Kings are in second in the CIHL west division, just under Smithers.
“If we win our game and Smithers loses both theirs, then we will be first [in the west division],” said River Kings general manager Ross Smith.
“If Smithers wins a game, then we will be second.”
The playoff schedule will be released next week after the season wraps up this weekend.
River Kings lose in shootout to the Rampages Jan.9
Prince Rupert blazed into the game with a goal just off the opening draw, and a second goal less than two minutes after – putting the Kings down 0-2.
The first period was broken up significantly with rough, undisciplined play from both sides, and a total of 13 penalties stopping the game.
Fourteen minutes in, River King Chapen Leblond chalked one up for the Kings on a power play. He spun at the blue line losing the Rupert backchecker and then blasted home Terrace’s opening goal on the short side.
The buzzer went at the end of the first period with a Prince Rupert lead 2-1.
Terrace started the second period on the powerplay, but was unable to deliver.
Rupert infractions continued to mount, and Terrace stepped up their offensive action.
But a penalty from the Kings put Rupert in a power play, which was capitalized by Rampage Josh Cook with a backhand, forehand deke and a shot top-shelf after Kings goalie Patrick Leal went down.
That put the score 3-1 for Prince Rupert.
As the clock in the second period wound down, River King Ben Reinbolt sniped one into the back of the net.
After a neutral zone breakdown seconds later, Luke Gordon fired the puck from the point, which glanced off a Rampage defenceman’s skate and found its way into the net, tying up the game 3-3.
The third period saw much of the same action as the first two periods with some hard checking, lots of neutral zone play and skilled action.
Rupert flew down the left wing early in the third and shelved one far-side to earn a 4-3 lead for the Rampage, but Josh Murray tied up the game again halfway through the third.
Overtime decided nothing and the River Kings and Rampage headed into the shootout.
Leal stopped the first Rupert shooter, and then Dawson Leblond landed his shot.
In the second set, Leal shut down the Rupert shooter, and Chapen Leblond was stopped.
The third Rupert shooter landed his shot, and Steve Cullis was stopped, putting the shootout at 1-1.
Rampage made their fourth and final shot, putting the pressure of the game on Josh Murray, who missed his shot.
The game ended with a 4-5 shootout loss for the Kings. They also lost 3-2 in Kitimat Jan. 2, and the losses follow a four-game win-streak of home games.
The River Kings are ranked second in the CIHL’s West Division just under Smithers. Williams Lake is top overall in the CIHL and has a first-round bye in the playoffs.
– With files from William Gye