The Williams Lake Stampeders are off to the second and final round of the Central Interior Hockey League playoffs.
The Stamps defeated the Prince Rupert Rampage 7-3 on the road Saturday night to sweep the best-of-three series following an 8-4 victory last Saturday in the lakecity.
“Probably one of the best efforts of the year,” Stampeders coach Dave Lauzon said. “It’s a tough atmosphere going into Rupert — they have such good fan support, but the guys came together for that one.”
Williams Lake will now square off with the Terrace River Kings in the playoff final after they finished off the Quesnel Kangaroos in their first-round series, also in two straight games.
Scoring for Williams Lake in Saturday’s win were Jassi Sangha, Nathan Zurak, Kurtis Bond (2), Stu Sasges, Ian O’Brian and Ryan Conlin.
Williams Lake netminder Willie Sellars picked up the win for the Stampeders, stopping 23 of 26 shots sent his way.
Game one of the CIHL playoff final versus the River Kings will take place in Williams Lake at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex on this Saturday, Feb. 10 with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop.
Games two and, if necessary, three, will be in Terrace the following weekend.
The series will be a rematch of last year’s CIHL final, where the River Kings emerged the victors.
“They’re the league champions so they’re the team to beat,” Lauzon said. “But we match up well with them. Every game I’ve been invoved with against Terrace has been close, and I don’t expect anything different.
“They have a big, physical defence and really good goaltending so we’re going to have to be on top of our game to take them.”
As this year’s host of the 2018 Coy Cup senior men’s ‘AA’ provincial championship late March, Williams Lake will automatically be granted a berth to the tournament. The winner of the CIHL playoffs would have earned the slot from the league, however, since Williams Lake already has a spot, Terrace will be granted the chance to play alongside Williams Lake for a shot at the provincial title.