Williams Lake Stampeder Wilf Robbins (right) looks to hit a streaking Josh Lund (back left) during an 8-5 Sunday win over the Omineca Ice. With another 8-4 win Saturday over the Ice Williams Lake clinched first place in its division and second overall in the CIHL heading into playoffs.

Stampeders lock up first in division

The Williams Lake Stampeders have clinched second place in the league heading into playoffs at the end of the month.

The Williams Lake Stampeders have clinched second place overall in the Central Interior Hockey League and first place in the East Division heading into playoffs at the end of the month.

The Stampeders won twice — an 8-4 doubling Saturday and a 8-5 win Sunday — over the Omineca Ice to close out its regular season on a high note in front of many hometown fans.

“I thought the guys played very well,” said Stampeders general manager Don Hanson, who noted the wins secure home-ice advantage for the first-round of the playoffs. “We didn’t have our full team back [due to injury] but it’s progressively getting together again.

“It was good, clean hockey games with a near equal amount of penalties and shots — I just think our goaltending was a little stronger.”

Saturday, both Josh Lund and Tyson Hall put up two-goal performances for the Stamps, while league-leading scorer Nathan Zurak contributed with a four-point night. Nathan now has 46 points on the campaign (18 goals, 28 assists). Also lighting the lamp were Francis Johnson, Aaron Zurak and Tyler Fuller.

On Sunday Williams Lake thwarted a 4-3 third-period Omineca lead by scoring three times off the sticks of Nathan (3-1-4) — who potted two of a hat-trick, four-point performance in the third period — and Johnson. Rounding out the scoring for the Stampeders were Jason Hufty, Brent McIsaac, Matt Lees and Tyler Fuller.

Williams Lake netminder Justin Foote was between the pipes for both wins stopping 35 shots Saturday and 26 Sunday.

Those in attendance Sunday also witnessed an extremely scary incident involving an Omineca Ice player, Kalen Bird, who crashed awkwardly into the side boards while chasing after a loose puck.

Following the collision Bird laid on the ice, conscious but not noticeably moving, for close to 40 minutes while being aided by trainers from both teams before paramedics were able to get him off the ice, on a spine board and to the hospital.

Chris Reed, coach of the Ice, told the Tribune Monday Bird will be completely OK and thanked Stampeders trainer Stewart Bell for his on-ice assistance.

“He hit the boards pretty hard on the play and as a precaution they didn’t want him to move,” Reed said.

“He’s going to be pretty sore for a while but he got X-rayed and he was good to go home last night.”

With both weekend wins Williams Lake finishes the season with 13 wins and five losses. The Kitimat Ice Demons (11-4-2), who were contending with the Stamps for the second overall playoff seed, lost, 8-2, to the Terrace River Kings Saturday which gave Williams Lake the edge in the standings.

Williams Lake’s East Division rivals the Quesnel Kangaroos (10-5-2), after falling 7-3 to the Lac La Hache Tomahawks Saturday, have locked up second place in the East Division and likely the fourth-place overall seed headed into playoffs.

The other two teams rounding out the top four — the league-leading Smithers Steelheads (17-0-0) and the Kitimat Ice Demons (11-4-2) — each have one game remaining next weekend.

The bottom four teams making the postseason will be determined following next weekend’s games.

Williams Lake’s playoff run begins Jan. 28 against an undetermined opponent on the road for game one of a best-of-three series in round one. Game two and, if necessary, game three will be played in Williams Lake the following weekend, Feb. 4-5.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

What is a rancher doing writing about pigs in the middle of haying?

Like local beef purchased from trustworthy sources, the same can be said about sourcing pork.

Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross not seeking re-election

Yunesit’in First Nation will have a new leader come Sept. 9

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

NHL playoffs: Canucks to meet St. Louis Blues in Round 1

Vancouver takes on defending champs beginning Wednesday

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Most Read