The Williams Lake Stampeders are one win away from a berth in the second round of the Central Interior Hockey League playoffs.
The Stamps travelled into hostile territory Saturday to take on the Lac La Hache Tomahawks, skating away with a 4-3 victory in game one of the series.
Williams Lake jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first nine minutes of the contest with two goals from Nathan Zurak and a lone marker from Dylan Richardson.
Lac La Hache’s Robin Gilbert beat Stamps netminder Justin Foote with 7:44 remaining in the frame to get his team on the board.
In the second the Tomahawks crept to within one of the Stamps, when Drew Rose lit the lamp with 4:39 left in the period.
Stamps forward Jassi Sangha found the twine early in the third, while Gilbert potted his second of the contest to close out the scoring.
Stampeders general manager Kelly Kohlen was quick to give credit to the play of Tomahawks’ goaltender Willie Sellars who, after allowing three early goals, went on to stop 41 of 45 shots.
On the other end, Foote collected 32 saves on 35 shots.
“Willie played a good game for them,” Kohlen said.
“It could have been a lot worse. It was 3-0 after the first five minutes or so — he didn’t have a great start — but after that he shut the door pretty good.”
Kohlen said the Zurak (2-1-3), Richardson (1-2-3), Bill McGinnis (0-3-3) line was strong for the Stamps.
In other playoff quarterfinal games the Quesnel Kangaroos stomped the Omineca Ice in Vanderhoof, 7-1, to take a stranglehold on their series. Up north, the Smithers Steeleheads edged the Houston Luckies, 4-3, while the Kitimat Ice Demons took game one, 4-3 in overtime, over the Terrace River Kings.
For the Stampeders, game two of the series goes Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in Williams Lake at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex. Game three, if necessary, goes at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3 in Williams Lake.
For more on the Stamps visit www.wlstampeders.com.