The Williams Lake Stampeders are headed to the Central Interior Hockey League playoff finals.
The Stamps gutted out a best-of-three East Division final series against the Quesnel Kangaroos, winning 7-3 Sunday in Quesnel in game three following an 8-7 overtime setback Saturday.
Both games two and three were scheduled to be played in Williams Lake. However, because the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex was closed due to the city union worker strike the games were moved to Quesnel.
Saturday, things started out looking good for the Stamps, who quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period following two markers — one shorthanded and one on the power play — from defenceman Brent McIsaac.
Shortly into the second Francis Johnson put Williams Lake up 3-0, before Quesnel found its legs. Justin Fulton, Mike Kaluzny, Jeff Gagnon and Devon Whalen each lit the lamp for the ‘Roos within just over a 10-minute span in the second, before Williams Lake answered back with goals from Bill McGinnis, Jassi Sangha and Dylan Richardson to head into the final frame up 6-4.
Quesnel’s Nick Tomasetti, Curtis Gassoff and Riley Ferster each found the twine to put the ‘Roos up 7-6 before Sangha, with his second of the night, forced the contest into overtime with 30 seconds remaining.
Tomassetti proved to be the hero for Quesnel on the night, notching the overtime winner on lakecity netminder Justin Foote. Quesnel’s Ryan Manderson handled 38 of 45 shots in the win.
Sunday’s sudden-death contest saw the Stampeders, again, jump out to an early lead after Sangha (shorthanded) and Nathan Zurak both scored to give Williams Lake a 2-1 edge headed into the second.
Zurak went on to explode for five goals in the contest, scoring his fourth and fith markers in the third period to put the series on ice. Sangha also added two goals in the contest for the Stamps. Foote picked up the win between the pipes for Williams Lake, stopping 31 shots.
The Stamps will now meet the Smithers Steelheads in the CIHL final. Game one is scheduled to be played in Williams Lake at the CMRC this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. but, depending on the status of the city union worker strike, the game may be moved to Quesnel.