The Houston Luckies probably thought they were seeing double, maybe triple, Sunday afternoon in what would be its final game of the season.
The Williams Lake Stampeders combination of twin brothers Joe Morgan and Geoff Morgan, and Tyson Hall, all clad in uncharacteristic red hockey pants (the Stamps wear black), should have been a sure warning sign for the Houston Luckies to take note when they were on the ice.
That didn’t happen, and the trio combined for seven of the team’s 16 points, including the game winner that came off the stick of Hall (2-1-3) to break a 4-4 deadlock near the midway point of the third period.
Add a two-goal, one-assist performance from defenceman Tyler Fuller and the Williams Lake Stampeders are off to round two of the Central Interior Hockey League playoffs.
After falling behind one game to nothing in the series following a 6-3 defeat in game one in Houston on Jan. 28, the Stampeders parlayed an 8-5 home ice win Saturday in game two with a 6-4 win Sunday at the Cariboo Memorial Complex to win the series two games to one.
“Those guys [Joe, Geoff and Hall] are good hockey players,” said Stampeders general manger Don Hanson on the trio’s performance Sunday. “It makes a big difference when we have them in the lineup. Even the Luckies said there wasn’t anything they could do to those guys. They just go wherever they want to go on the ice.”
Adding singles in the Sunday win were Joe and Josh Lund, while Houston’s offence came from Blair Dinelle, Derek Dinelle, Jon Marren and Skylar Hassel.
Williams Lake netminder Justin Foote was between the pipes for both wins, while Houston goalie Nick West — despite making some big saves Sunday while battling through a leg injury — came up short.
Scoring Saturday for Williams Lake were both Joe and Wilfred Robbins with two goals each, and Francis Johnson, Lund, Matt Lees and Gilbert Robbins potting singles.
“We’re happy with the results,” Hanson said. “It’s finally starting to show that we’re getting most of our guys back on the ice from injury.”
Williams Lake will now meet the Quesnel Kangaroos next Saturday in Quesnel for game one of round two. The Kangaroos defeated the Lac La Hache Tomahawks Saturday to sweep its opening round series in two straight games.
Following next weekend’s tilt games two and, if necessary, game three will be played in Williams Lake on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19.
Hanson said it should be a tightly-contested series. Williams Lake finished the regular season in second place in the CIHL, while Quesnel finished fourth.
“We’ve got a pretty good chance of getting by Quesnel, but they’re a funny team,” he said. “If they play hockey instead of taking too many penalties they’re OK. But it should be a boomer and there should be lots of people at the games [in both cities].”
In other CIHL playoff matchups the Terrace River Kings upset the third seeded Kitimat Ice Demons to advance to the other semi-final. Terrace will meet the No. 1 seed Smithers Steelheads, who swept the Prince Rupert Rampage in two straight to advance.
Regardless of what happens the rest of the way in the CIHL playoffs all four remaining teams have now qualified for the Coy Cup Senior Men’s AA Provincial Hockey Championship being held in Kitimat this March.
As the host, the Ice Demons will also be in the tournament.