On the backs of two stellar performances from its netminders, the Williams Lake Stampeders continued its perfect start to the 2014/15 Central Interior Hockey League campaign.
As part of the longest road trip of the season for the team, the Stampeders downed the Prince Rupert Rampage 5-4 in a shootout on Saturday and the Kitimat Ice Demons 3-1 on Sunday to improve to a 5-0 start to the season.
Matt Brenner and Justin Foote split the goaltending duties for Williams Lake, with Brenner seizing the win Saturday and Foote posting the victory the following day.
“They [Brenner and Foote] stole those games for us,” said Williams Lake Stampeders president Marko Zurak. “They played unreal.”
Brenner turned aside 38 of 42 shots against the Rampage while Foote followed suit Sunday stopping 30 of 31 attempts.
The Stampeders also rebounded from a 4-2 deficit against Prince Rupert where David Gore tallied twice and Andrew Fisher and Nathan Zurak each added singles before Gore and Aaron Zurak — as the fifth shooter — scored in the shootout to edge the Rampage.
Tyler Bates, Jordan Weir, Kory Movald and Jared Meers each scored for Prince Rupert in the losing effort.
“We just kept playing and the boys started coming around in the second period and started playing better,” Marko said. “In the third we started taking it to them and in overtime played really well.”
Sunday’s contest versus the Ice Demons was a goaltenders’ duel. Aaron and Nathan both scored in the first period for Williams Lake and Josh Slanina tallied on the power play for the Ice Demons before Nathan added an empty net goal in the third period to seal the deal. Gore and Stuart Sasges both helped out with two assists each in the win.
“We played a more defensive game [on Sunday],” Marko said. “Justin was fantastic for us and made a lot of good saves, but both goalies were good and there were chances on both sides.”
Marko added he’s pleased with the way the team is playing so early in the CIHL season. With both wins Williams Lake sits six points ahead of the Quesnel Kangaroos (2-3-0) in the East Division with 10 points.
“I’m really happy with the way the guys are coming out,” he said. “The games are really entertaining. They’re all exciting and that makes it a fun time.”
Coming up next for the Stampeders is a home contest on Saturday, Nov. 1 versus the Lac La Hache Tomahawks. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.