The Terrace River Kings played the spoilers Saturday night, handing the Williams Lake Stampeders their first loss of the season in a 9-6 road victory.
In a Coy Cup rematch from last year, roughly 600 fans at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex went home stunned as a three-goal outburst from the River Kings in the third period allowed Terrace to prevail.
Williams Lake — who were hosting their annual food drive for the Salvation Army — never played with a lead in the contest, as Terrace struck first and continued to be one step ahead of the Stampeders throughout, outshooting the home team 37 to 24.
Four Terrace players had three-point nights, including Ben Reinbolt (1-2-3), Chapen Leblond (1-2-3), Steve Cullis (1-2-3) and Jordan Peddle (3-0-3).
For the Stampeders Nathan Zurak (1-4-5), Matt Lees (2-3-5) and Stuart Sasges (2-3-5) — the game’s second star — each tallied five points.
The River Kings opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the first period as Josh Murray opened the scoring on Stampeders’ netminder Justin Foote.
The Stampeders retaliated moments later as Sasges scored the first of his two markers on River Kings’ goaltender Devon Ames.
From there the two clubs traded goals, before Terrace extended its lead to 7-5 midway through the final frame.
Zurak cut the deficit to one nine seconds later, however, the River Kings responded in the final four minutes with two unanswered goals to close out the period with the 9-6 win.
The Stampeders are now 9-1-0 on the season, and have an eight-point lead on the second-place Quesnel Kangaroos (5-5-0) in the Central Interior Hockey League East Division.
In the West Division the River Kings extended their first-place lead over the Smithers Steelheads (4-3-0) improving to 7-1-0.
The Stampeders now have a rare weekend off in its 16-game regular season before travelling south to face the Lac La Hache Tomahawks in back-to-back games on Saturday, Dec. 6 and Sunday, Dec. 7, at the Rolf Zeis Memorial Arena. Game times are 7:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., respectively.
AROUND THE LEAGUE
In the other East Division tilts of the weekend the Lac La Hache Tomahawks (3-5-0) edged the Quesnel Kangaroos 5-4 on Saturday night on home ice, before falling 11-6 the following day to the River Kings.
The other West Division matchups saw the Smithers Steelheads upend the Prince Rupert Rampage (1-7-1) 8-2 and 5-3 in their Saturday and Sunday meetings.