The Williams Lake Stampeders are heading into the holidays on the wrong end of an 8-5 decision at the hands of the Quesnel Kangaroos.
The Stamps put themselves deep in a hole early following six unanswered goals from Ryan Mawes, Justin Fulton, Tommy Grant (2) and Derek Knowles (2) in the first period from Quesnel.
Williams Lake responded on the power play with under a minute left in the first frame on a goal from Wilf Robbins, then continued on that momentum with two more from Nathan Zurak and Robbins’ second power play marker of the night to cut the deficit to 6-3.
Quesnel, however, extended its lead to 7-3 on a short-handed tally from Alessio Tomassetti, before Robbins completed his hat trick with just under four minutes left to play.
That would be all from the Stamps’ offence, though, as Curtis Gassoff capped off the scoring for the Kangaroos just 10 seconds later to complete the 8-5 final score.
Williams Lake was outshot handily in the contest, 38-23.
Despite slipping to nine wins and three losses on the campaign, the Stamps are still sitting atop the Central Interior Hockey League standings, two points ahead of both the second-place Smithers Steelheads (8-3-0) — who beat the Kitimat Ice Demons Saturday 11-4 — and the Terrace River Kings (7-2-2).
Both the River Kings and the Steelheads, however, have a game in hand on the Stampeders.
The Kangaroos, meanwhile, improved to five wins, six losses and one overtime loss and currently occupy the fourth-place spot in the CIHL alongside the Prince Rupert Rampge (5-5-1).
The Ice Demons are winless in 11 games and round out the league’s standings in sixth place.
Williams Lake now has four games left in their regular season: three road games against Quesnel (Jan. 7), the Prince Rupert Rampage (Jan. 14) and the Kitimat Ice Demons (Jan. 15), before they return home for their final tilt of the season versus the Terrace River Kings on Sunday, Jan. 29.
Puck drop for that game will be at 1:30 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex.